Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil quits German national side amid accusations of racism
PUBLISHED: 20:04 22 July 2018 | UPDATED: 20:33 22 July 2018
Danny Loo Photography 2018
Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil has announced he is to quit playing for the German national side, slamming individuals at the country’s football federation, accusing them of revealing their ‘previously hidden racist tendencies’.
The 29-year-old German of Turkish descent retired from international duty as the fallout from his meeting with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues.
The mercurial Ozil had been criticised by the German Football Association for meeting Erdogan with team-mate Ilkay Gundogan ahead of the World Cup in Russia this summer.
The star posted a three part statement on his personal Twitter account to his 23 million followers during Sunday – with the third tranche of his long explanation aimed at DFB president Reinhard Grindel, while accusing him of racism.
He said: “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.
“This decision has been extremely difficult to make because I have always given everything for my team-mates, the coaching staff and the good people of Germany.
“But when high-ranking DFB officials treat me as they did, disrespect my Turkish roots and selfishly turn me into political propaganda, then enough is enough.
“That is now why I play football, and I will not sit back and do nothing about it.
“Racism should never, ever be accepted.”
Ozil played for the mannschaft 92 times, notching 23 goals with 33 assists and was named DFB Player of the Year five times, winning the World Cup in 2014.
Ozil gave a superb display while starring in his country’s never-to-be-forgotten 7-1 annihaltion of Brazil in the semi-final in Belo Horizonte that stunned millions of South American football fans.
It has been expected he would take an extended break rather than fly with Unai Emery’s squad to Singapore where they will play two matches against PSG and Atletico Madrid this week as they gear up for the forthcoming 2018-19 season.
Ozil added; “While I attempted to explain to Grindel my heritage, ancestry and reasoning behind the photo [with Erdogan] he was far more interested in speaking about his own political views and belittling my opinion.”
He went on to add: “Criticising and abusing me because of my family ancestry is a disgraceful line to cross” while accusing Grindel and some at the DFB of revealing their previously hidden racist tendencies.”