Germany winger Mesut Ozil has announced his retirement from international football. The 29-year old Arsenal man released a long statement on social media where he claimed that he was making this decision because of racism and disrespect among other reasons.
Mesut Ozil made his debut for Germany against Norway at Dusseldorf in 2009. Since then, he went on to play 92 matches for the national team, scoring 23 goals. Barring the 2018 World Cup, Ozil has scored in every single major tournament he played. He was a key player in Germany’s victorious World Cup campaign in 2014.
In May this year, Ozil sparked controversy by posing for a picture with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Ozil, who has Turkish ancestry, received heavy criticism for this gesture. As a matter of fact, several members of the DFB and politicians questioned his loyalty to the country.
He later received plenty of criticism after Germany’s horrendous title defense at the 2018 World Cup. Germany exited the tournament in the first round and were last in their group.
In a lengthy statement on twitter, Ozil attacked the DFB. He said, “For me, having a picture with President Erdoğan wasn’t about politics or elections, it was about me respecting the highest office of my family’s country.”
“My job is a football player and not a politician, and our meeting was not an endorsement of any policies. The treatment I have received from the DFB and many others makes me no longer want to wear the German national team shirt. I feel unwanted and think what I have achieved since my international debut in 2009 has been forgotten.”
The 29-year old attacked DFB President Reinhard Grindel in particular, adding, “People with racially discriminative backgrounds should not be allowed to work in the largest football federation in the world that has players from dual‑heritage families. Attitudes like theirs simply do not reflect the players they supposedly represent. In the eyes of Grindel and his supporters, I am German when we win but I am an immigrant when we lose.
It is with a heavy heart and after much consideration that because of recent events I will no longer be playing for Germany at international level whilst I have this feeling of racism and disrespect. I used to wear the German shirt with such pride and excitement, but now I don’t. I feel unwanted and think that what I have achieved since my international debut in 2009 has been forgotten.”
In his lengthy statement, Mesut Ozil went anything but easy on Reinhard Grindel. “I will no longer stand for being a scapegoat for his incompetence and inability to do his job properly,” said the 29-year old.
“I am disappointed but not surprised by [Grindel’s] actions. But when high-ranking DFB officials disrespect my Turkish roots and selfishly turn me into political propaganda, then enough is enough.”
Ozil also claimed that he received plenty of criticism on social media. Ozil claimed that a German fan racially abused him after Germany’s match with Sweden. “A German fan told me after the game, ‘Özil, f*** off you Turkish s***, piss off you Turkish pig’.”
“They all represent a Germany of the past, a Germany that I am not proud of. I am confident that many proud Germans who embrace an open society would agree with me.”
Ozil had a pretty disappointing season with Arsenal in 2017-18 and the past two months have been even harder. It will be interesting to see how he comes back after all the fiasco that he has been through.