Andre Santos makes apology to Arsenal fans for swapping shirts with Robin van Persie


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Arsenal defender Andre Santos has apologised for swapping shirts with Robin van Persie during his side's defeat to Manchester United at the weekend.

The Brazilian defender, who endured a torrid afternoon, took the shirt of the Manchester United striker after the half-time whistle went at Old Trafford on Saturday.

At the time Arsenal were 1-0 down - the goal coming from Van Persie - and Santos' actions were scrutinised and used to level accusations that the Gunners no longer see themselves as equals with their once great rivals.

Santos' own manager was also critical, with Arsene Wenger saying yesterday: "I believe that was not the right thing to do at all".

Santos has now apologised, telling The Sun: "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."

Santos is expected to be dropped for tonight's match against Schalke, although due to his form rather than the shirt swapping incident.

Half-time swaps

While swapping shirts is traditional in football, players usually wait for the full-time whistle. The actions of Santos, if not deemed offensive to Arsenal fans, were at the least considered a bit strange. But as his wife Suelem Leal explained on Twitter, it is Brazilian tradition to ask for an opponents shirt midway through the match.

"The English should better understand the Brazilian culture before judging someone," she wrote on Twitter to defend her husband.

She added: "No one stops being friends just for changing company." explaining it is "normal in Brazil."