Why Swiss star's goal celebration enraged Serbia

Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka scored a screamer in Switzerland’s win over Serbia – before he celebrated with an extremely controversial gesture.

The Arsenal star scored Switzerland’s first goal with a thumping long-range effort before celebrating vigorously with a ‘double eagle’ gesture – the symbol of Albania.

Now to say that celebration is controversial would be polite. Later, teammate Xherdan Shaqiri replicated the same gesture after his winning goal in the 90th minute, but not as intensely as Xhaka.

Xhaka celebrates with the double eagle symbol. Pic: Getty

Xhaka was born to Kosovo-Albanian parents who were forced to flee the fall of Yugoslavia in 1990. Xhaka’s father was even imprisoned for more than three years for demonstrating against the Communist regime in the late 1980s.

Shaqiri was born in present-day Kosovo but emigrated with his family to Switzerland when he was a baby.

The Kosovo War that ended in 1999 remains a contentious territory in both Serbia and Albania with the region currently residing within Serbia, but having it’s own Fifa-recognised team.

Serbia is considered the modern-day successor of the Yugoslavia football team.

Swiss coach Vladimir Petkovic said politics and football should “never mix” after his two players celebrated goals with the political gestures.

“You should never mix politics and football, it’s good to be a fan and important to show respect,” Petkovic said.

“It’s clear that emotions surface. I think on and off the pitch we need to steer away from politics in football and we should focus on this as a sport that brings people together.”

Shaqiri had been booed relentlessly by Serbia fans during the high-quality match, but had the last laugh with his last ditch winner.

“In football you have always emotions and you can see what I did and it’s just emotion,” he said in reference to his controversial celebration.

“I’m very happy to score the goal, that’s all.”

Most onlookers were also happy to see the pair making the gestures on the pitch, taking to Twitter to discuss the poignant moments.

However not everyone was enjoying the political gesture, as Serbian fans booed in the stadium, other football fans shared their disgust at the gestures on Twitter.

With Hamish Williams – Yahoo UK