Granit Xhaka hardly gets to pull off repeated goal celebrations because he doesn’t really score that many goals for Arsenal.
The midfielder is enjoying what is arguably the most prolific season for the Gunners in which he’s scored five goals in 37 appearances.
That includes an impressive goal in the win over Tottenham Hotspur at home earlier this season and two in the Europa League.
However, Xhaka was especially desperate to get on the scoresheet for his side in the second leg of their disappointing Europa League Round of 16 loss to Sporting Lisbon on Thursday.
He did manage to do just that, pouncing on an impressive effort from Gabriel Martinelli and picking up a loose ball to slot a shot into the Sporting goal. But what he did after that has managed to trigger a lot of fans and create controversy.
What was the meaning behind Granit Xhaka’s goal celebration vs Sporting?
Soon after his goal, Xhaka pulled off a rather unique celebration that saw him put his thumb on his nose and a bit of a wave toward the camera. His teammates loved it and so did the Arsenal crowd, which was woken up by the brilliant team goal.
The Switzerland midfielder even did a gesture toward the camera and indicated that it was for someone special in his life. Well, it turns out that after the game – which they ended up losing on penalties – Xhaka actually dedicated that particular goal celebration to his young daughter Ayana.
His eldest daughter wanted her father to do the celebration in case he scored and the midfielder obliged to it. This might be a little gesture that the two share in their private life as Xhaka dedicated his fifth season goal to his daughter.
The midfielder’s wife Leonita posted a picture of him doing the celebration on Instagram confirming the same, as she wrote: “Goallll for Ayana he promised. We love you best daddy @granitxhaka.” She also posted a picture of the young daughter doing that celebration towards her father on the TV screen as well.
Xhaka mocked by Sporting players for his celebration
While Xhaka did not do that celebration to knock the Sporting players or try to embarrass them, the Portuguese side’s stars clearly did not know that. They were presumably charged up by Xhaka’s gestures and ended up having the last laugh, by winning the penalty shoot-out.
Soon after the win, Sporting midfielder Pedro Goncalves started doing the celebration with the Arsenal supporters in a way to mock Xhaka.
Not just that, but a player from Sporting’s Futsal team – Erick Mendonca – decided to mock the Arsenal midfielder for trying to embarrass his side.
He posted a picture of the Swiss midfielder’s celebration with the caption ‘Te Derm ya’, which translates to ‘Give You Ya’ – basically indicating Xhaka got a dose of karma for trying to celebrate Sporting’s struggles too early.
Mendonca also posted a picture of him doing the same ‘thumb to the nose’ celebration in a way to mock Xhaka.
Well, it’s clear that the Sporting players did not know that the Arsenal man made that gesture to pay homage to his daughter more than anything else and fans are annoyed how Xhaka is being mocked for just that.
However, the Swiss midfielder has a tough-as-nails personality and will not let this setback pull him down. He’ll be focused on motivating his fellow Arsenal players and leading from the front in their remaining 11 Premier League games, as they aim to pip Man City and lift the title in May.