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World Cup

Xhaka prepared to ‘smash’ Martinelli & Jesus if needs be as Arsenal stars prepare to face off in Switzerland vs Brazil

16:22 EAT 28/11/2022
Gabriel Jesus Graint Xhaka Gabriel Martinelli
Granit Xhaka has warned Arsenal team-mates Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus he is prepared to “smash” them for the good of Switzerland’s cause.
  • Gunners colleagues to meet in Qatar
  • Last-16 spots up for grabs
  • Friendships being put to one side

WHAT HAPPENED? The Swiss are due to line up against Brazil at the 2022 World Cup on Monday, with that contest set to pitch club colleagues from Emirates Stadium into direct competition. Xhaka says domestic friendships will be put to one side in the heat of international battle, with the combative midfielder happy to kick a few familiar faces up in the air if it helps his side to victory in Qatar.

WHAT THEY SAID: Xhaka has said ahead of facing Brazil: "We were joking before the World Cup about coming here and of course, it is always good if you have team-mates opposite you, but we are professional footballers for 90 minutes. I told Gabby Martinelli and Gabby Jesus if you are running one against one against our goalkeeper, I will smash you! It doesn’t matter that we are playing in the same team. This is the Word Cup. You play for your own team, you play for your own country and you want to win. Of course they were worried. They know me. If I smash you, it will be very, very hard!"

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Xhaka has never been one to hold back when it comes to a challenge, with five red cards collected across his time at Arsenal, and he will pull no punches when locking horns with players that he is currently chasing down a Premier League title alongside in north London.

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT? Switzerland and Brazil both took three points from their opening games in Group G at Qatar 2022 and know that another victory at Stadium 974 in Doha will book their place in the last-16.