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Jose Mourinho has told Granit Xhaka to 'get the jab' after the Arsenal midfielder tested positive for coronavirus having opted against being vaccinated.
Switzerland captain Xhaka was ruled out of his country's friendly against Greece on Wednesday after being forced to self-isolate following the positive test.
The Swiss FA said Xhaka had chosen not to have the jab – but he has now been told to get it by the man who almost signed him over the summer.
Roma boss Mourinho wrote "Get the jab Granit and be safe" in response to an Instagram post from the Gunners midfielder in which he said he was "Excited about the challenges ahead" with the Swiss national team.
Mourinho's public message came after the former Chelsea and Manchester United boss came close to signing Xhaka in the summer, only for the 28-year-old to sign a new deal with Arsenal.
Earlier this week, the Swiss FA's head of communications Adrian Arnold told Blick : "Granit Xhaka was not vaccinated.
"He's a player who isn't vaccinated. We left this up to each player, it's a personal decision of each player – just like any other person in Switzerland.
"We have issued a recommendation that everyone vaccinate. But he decided for himself personally. And it is also his right not to be vaccinated."
He added: "All the other players in the team have been vaccinated or have recovered [from Covid] – so they are more or less safe, at least from a medical point of view. One is never quite sure.
"Accordingly, we have a very high vaccination rate. Now, unfortunately, Granit got caught. From a sporting point of view, it is a shame for us at this important moment."
Swiss FA president Dominique Blanc hit back at critics of Xhaka's stance, saying: "We stand for respect and tolerance.
"Therefore we condemn the hostility against Granit Xhaka for not being vaccinated."
Xhaka was sent off after just 35 minutes in his last match for Arsenal before the international break, following a reckless challenge from the midfielder on Manchester City full-back Joao Cancelo.
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The Gunners were already 2-0 down after conceding twice in the opening 12 minutes, and went on to lose 5-0.
The defeat left Mikel Arteta's side bottom of the Premier League table having lost their opening three games without scoring a goal.
And former Arsenal striker Charlie Nicholas has slammed Xhaka as "the joker of our club".
Nicholas told the Where’s Jeff podcast : "He did what he’s always done. He played the joker card. He is the joker of our club.
"How he can manipulate Roma into paying £17m… I would’ve personally dropped him off there… And then he signs a new contract."
Nicholas blasted Xhaka's red card as "an absolute camouflage", saying: "When you look at the so-called captain in Xhaka, that’s a cop-out.
"It just sums everything up about that football club.
"As much as I want to support Mikel Arteta, I’m finding is harder and harder to justify his choices."
- Premier League
- Arsenal FC
- Jose Mourinho
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