The Armenian footballer did not travel to Azerbaijan because his country and the Europa League host are in the middle of a political crisis.
Arsenal’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan did not travel to Baku, Azerbaijan, to play in the UEFA Europa League Final against Chelsea.
The reason? The political tensions between his country, Armenia, and the host nation.
Which is why Gunners goalkeeper Bernd Leno believes this is a big “scandal.”
“It’s a scandal that he cannot play because of that, he works hard all season and cannot come to such a final for political reasons,” he was quoted by Goal.
“I’m just sorry for him [Mkhitaryan].”
“The club wants the title, they want to go to the Champions League, and if Arsenal and Chelsea refuse, they would probably be excluded from UEFA. That’s not so easy,” he said about any possible protests.
“I have great respect for Petr Cech, and we get along very well.”
“He deserves all credit, and I treat him well, but it’s clear that I’m an athlete, I want to always play, especially in a final,” Leno added.
“To win the Europa League would be the first big title for me. We all want to hear the [Champions League] anthem again.”
“The Thursday-Sunday rhythm is also not so good because you always suffer in the league.”
He concluded: “If we lose the final, our season, which was actually good, would be disappointing.”
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) May 27, 2019