Andre Santos has apologized to Arsenal supporters after his shirt swapping incident with Robin van Persie.
Arsenal defender Andre Santos has been in the eye of the storm recently. He had a match to forget at Old Trafford last weekend, when Valencia gave him a torrid time all afternoon. To add to his poor defensive display, Andre Santos committed the sin of exchanging jersey with Robin van Persie at half time.
This incident led to a huge furore among the fans who slated Santos all across social media. Even former players got into the act and questioned Santos’ judgment. Exchanging shirts is common activity among the players at the end of the match, but the fact that Santos did this during half time (specially after such a poor Arsenal performance in that half) provoked such strong reactions from fans and former players. Also the fact that the player he did this with was none other than Robin van Persie, almost put him across as a traitor for the Gooners.
But Santos has now come out and apologized to the fans and said that he was unaware ‘it’ would create such a ‘commotion’. But Santos also pointed out that van Persie still remains his good friend despite his transfer to Manchester United.
“I’d like to apologise to supporters who felt aggrieved by it. Did I think it would cause such a commotion? Of course I didn’t, otherwise I would have told Robin to exchange the shirts away from public view.
“Robin’s departure to United did not turn him into an enemy for me. We remain friends and he talked about exchanging shirts, which is something players do all the time. I just want people to understand he is my friend and I wouldn’t treat him differently because of the move to United.
“He approached me at half-time and at the time I did not think it would create such an uproar. I would never refrain from saying ‘hi’ to a good friend.
“It surprised me that people latched on to a gesture that promotes friendship and fair play. Arsene Wenger had asked the supporters to show respect towards Robin, after all,” Santos told The Sun.
Arsene Wenger though, is clearly unimpressed with Santos’ action during the match. The Arsenal manager said that Santos initially didn’t understand the impact of such an incident but has ensured that this won’t be repeated in future.
“I believe that was not the right thing to do at all. I don’t even understand it. It’s interesting because Santos is a player who cares.
“It’s about the result, about the team. That’s the difference of culture. I can understand that an English guy doesn’t understand it, I’m French and I don’t understand it either.
“He is completely in a different world when he does that. He cares and he understands today what it means and, believe me, he will never do it again,” Wenger said.
According to media report, Santos will be dropped from the starting eleven in the match against Schalke, although it is unclear whether he will dropped based on his performances or for the above incident. Thomas Vermaelen will start at left back with Koscielny partnering Mertesacker at the center back role.