FIFA World Cup 2018: Xhaka and Shaqiri pay tribute to roots in their goal celebration
Switzerland’s second Group E match against Serbia was an emotionally intense match for the Albanian-Kosovan origin players in the team.
Xherdan Shaqiri was four-year-old when his family left Kosovo after the political tension broke out between Serbia and Kosovo. Kosovo is a former Serbian province that declared independence in 2008, but Serbia does not recognize Kosovo’s independence and relations between the two countries still remain intense.
Shaqiri’s family found a safe house in Switzerland, the country which has been helping people from war and poverty regions to look for a better life.
The ethnic Albanian-Kosovan origin player Shaqiri is representing Switzerland in the 2018 World Cup. While playing for Switzerland, Shaqiri never forgot his roots, as he carries flags of both Switzerland and Kosovo on his boots, not because of the political stand but because it tells the story of his life.
Switzerland’s second Group E match against Serbia was an emotionally intense match for the Albanian-Kosovan origin players in the team. Serbia lead the score 1-0 in the first half, while in the starting of second-half Granit Xhaka another Albanian-Kosovan origin player equalized for Switzerland and celebrated with putting hands together to form a double-headed eagle similar to the one on the Albanian flag. And in the dying minutes of the game, Xherdan Shaqiri scored the winner for Switzerland and celebrated in a similar manner.
Both Xhaka and Shaqiri were criticised for inflaming political tension among Serbian nationalist and ethnic Albanian. Replying to the criticism about the celebration, Xhaka said that it was for the people, his supporter, his homeland, and for his parent's root, and claimed that the celebration was purely emotional.