Granit Xhaka does ‘Albania Eagle’ hand gesture with wife Leonita Lekaj

Granit Xhaka does ‘Albania Eagle’ hand gesture with wife Leonita Lekaj as he revisits his World Cup celebration

  • Granit and Leonita Xhaka pose in the Albanian Eagle hand gesture on Instagram
  • Locked thumbs and splayed fingers gesture symbolises Albania-Kosovan pride
  • Xhaka performed the same pose after scoring for Switzerland against Serbia 

Matthew Smith For Mail Online

Granit Xhaka publicly demonstrated his pride in his Kosovo-Albanian roots during the World Cup, and revisited that moment on Wednesday night along with his wife.

The Arsenal midfielder performed one half of the ‘Albanian Eagle’ hand gesture along with his wife, Leonita Lekaj, who has the same cultural background. 

For the avoidance of any doubt, Xhaka accompanied the snap with an emoji of an eagle, along with a heart.

Granit Xhaka and wife Leonita pose in the Albanian Eagle hand gesture on Instagram

Granit Xhaka and wife Leonita pose in the Albanian Eagle hand gesture on Instagram

That did not stop many commenters on the picture getting confused and sending congratulations, as the prominence of the couples’ rings made it look like an engagement photo. 

In fact, Xhaka and his wife have been married since July 2017, having met while he players at Borussia Monchengladbach and she also worked for the club.

The photo in fact has much more political meaning, and echoes back to Xhaka’s controversial celebration after scoring for Switzerland against Serbia at the 2018 World Cup. 

Xhaka performed the Albanian nationalist symbol at the World Cup

Xherdan Shaqiri celebrated in a similar fashion after netting a late winner against Serbia

Xhaka performed the Albanian nationalist symbol at the World Cup, as did Xherdan Shaqiri 

He crossed his thumbs and splayed his fingers to replicate the Albanian two-headed eagle, as did fellow player Xherdan Shaqiri, who was born in Kosovo. 

Xhaka was born to Albanian parents who were originally from Serbia. His father was a political prisoner following the 1968 student demonstations in Yugoslavia against the communist government in Belgrade.

The two-headed eagle is a nationalist symbol which at the World Cup was a pointed rebuke to the Serbians, who do not recognise Kosovo’s independence.

Xhaka was fined by FIFA for his political celebration – but that has clearly dampened neither his nor Mrs Xhaka’s cultural pride.



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