Famous footballers who were hated by their own fans ⚾

Granit Xhaka’s popularity at Arsenal has reached a new low, the much-maligned midfielder’s angry reaction to the crowd’s jeers during Sunday’s draw with Crystal Palace sparking outrage amongst the club’s support.

Xhaka’s ill-advised decision to cup his ears and mouth “f*** off” to his own supporters has made his position at the club uncertain, not least because he was appointed club captain ahead of the new campaign.

The Switzerland international is not the only player to have suffered a difficult relationship with his own supporters, however, and he is likely not to be the last.

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Gareth Bale – Real Madrid

A world-record signing who has helped his side to four Champions League titles in six seasons, including performing match-winning antics in two of those finals, Gareth Bale must be left wondering quite how it turned so sour for the Welshman at Real Madrid.

Having established himself as arguably the finest player in the Premier League, Bale headed for Spain in 2013 in a record-breaking move and success soon followed. The former Tottenham Hotspur star ended his first season by helping Real to La Decima, scoring in the club’s final success over city rivals Atletico Madrid.
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A host of major honours, including three consecutive Champions League triumphs have followed, Bale producing a stunning performance off the bench to score twice and beat Liverpool in the 2018 showpiece in Ukraine.

However, the Welsh winger has fallen out-of-favour under manager Zinedine Zidane who has been desperate to offload the player, whilst he has been targeted by fans as a scapegoat during the club’s worst performances in recent times.

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Granit Xhaka

The most recent player to feature in this list is the Arsenal captain, whose position at the club is uncertain following his aforementioned reaction to jeers from the home support.

The Swiss international has rarely been a popular figure at the club during three seasons at the Emirates, producing a series of inept displays and being targeted, often justified, for some of the club’s poorer performances in recent seasons.
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Voted in as club captain during the summer, Xhaka was supposed to be the leader behind a new era under Unai Emery, though that looks unlikely given his actions last weekend.

Having waved his arms and cupped his ears to the supporter’s boos, Xhaka would proceed to tell the Arsenal fans to ‘f*** off’ before visibly removing his shirt as he left the field.

Xhaka’s actions were unacceptable, particularly from a club captain, however it was a visible demonstration of his frustration at a difficult relationship with his own support.

Whether he can come back from this remains to be seen, though it will take some effort to win back the affection of the Arsenal faithful.

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Mauro Icardi

Immensely talented, though a player who endured somewhat of a love-hate relationship with the Inter Milan support.

The Argentine striker has established himself as one of the deadliest forwards in Italian football and was appointed as Inter’s club captain at the age of just 22, though despite his prolific returns in front of goal his relationship with his own fans soon deteriorated.
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During a disappointing 2014/15 season in which Inter finished 14 points adrift of Champions League qualification, Icardi was involved in an angry altercation with the Inter ultras, who threw his shirt back in his face after he had given it to the crowd following a 3-1 defeat to Sassuolo.

It was, however, Icardi’s recollection of the events in his autobiography which sparked controversy. Icardi heavily criticised the club’s ultras, going as far to challenge them to a fight and threatening to fly over 100 Argentine criminals to ‘kill them on the spot’.

Unsurprisingly, his comments did not go down well and he was later stripped of the captaincy. He continued to endure a difficult relationship with the club’s supporters in the years since, his wife and agent Wanda Nara continuing to stir proceedings in the background, before joining Paris Saint-Germain on a season-long loan deal last summer.

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