Interview

Xhaka - My mental strength comes from home

Granit Xhaka has been through a lot in just 25 years, but nothing compared to what his parents experienced before he was born.

In a recent interview, the Arsenal midfielder discussed his father’s time in a Yugoslavian prison after he was arrested for taking part in demonstrations against the government in 1986.
 
Granit says his father has only told him part of the story, but says staying strong in the face of adversity is a trait that has been passed from down to him.
 
“You get that from your upbringing,” Xhaka told Arsenal Player. “I’ve never been as open about my background and my family as in my last interview. It was a hard time for my parents. I wasn’t born. I think the mental strength comes from home.
 
“I ask my dad about it a lot. You might not want to do it initially because you hear things, but I started asking when I was about 18 and was able to realise what happened myself. I’ve asked him often but I think the full, true story, about how things really were, is one he may not ever tell me.
 
“My dad played football too, in the former Yugoslavia. Maybe it comes a bit from that, from the family, but you need some luck too. My brother was always going to go in the direction of football.
 
“With me, it was more between school and football. Eventually, it worked out for both of us. We’re pleased to have gone down that path. I’m proud that my parents always supported us, in good and in bad times. You need that.”

Arsenal Membership

Join as an Arsenal Member and receive a range of exclusive benefits such as priority ticket access, subscription to Arsenal Player, a welcome pack and access to members' events with the first team squad. If you join as a Junior Gunner you have the chance of being a Matchday mascot or ball boy.

Join today and always be ahead of the game