Arsenal creative talent Mesut Ozil launches attack on racist attitudes in country of his birth: ‘When we win I am German – when we lose I am an immigrant’
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Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil has accused the German football federation of racism, prompting the 29-year-old to retire from international football.
Ozil, who played 92 times for the German national side, scoring 23 goals with 32 assists announced on his personal Twitter account to his 23 million followers on Sunday that he has decided to quit playing for Joachim Low’s side.
The 29-year-old German of Turkish descent walked away from the mannschaft as the fallout from his meeting with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues.
The Gelsenkirchen-born gifted but mercurial talent has been hurt and frustrated by what he perceives to be discrimation from Reinhard Grindel, president of the DFB.
Specially referring to Grindel Ozil said: “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.
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“Attitudes like theirs simply do not reflect the players they supposedly represent.
“In the eyes of Grindel and his supporters,
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“I am German when we win but I am an immigrant when we lose.”
Ozil was part of Low’s squad which was knocked in the group stages as the side attracted widescale criticism.
The creative midfielder felt he was unfairly singled out and his acheivements with the national team largely forgotten – including playing a significant role in Germany’s 2014 World Cup triumph in Brazil.
He also attracted criticism from human rights campaigners after his meeting with Erdogan, who has been accused of human rights abuses.
However, Ozil insisted in an in-depth statement on social media: “For me, having a picture with President Erdogan 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.”