Fed up Ozil lashes out at Germany
Posted: 23 July 2018 Time: 09:30
A disgruntled Mesut Ozil has lashed out at the Germany FA, accusing some officials of racism - while effectively announcing his international retirement.
With over 65 goals and assists in 92 appearances, a five-time German Player of the Year and a 2014 World Cup winner, Ozil has been an integral figure within Die Mannschaft set-up over the past decade.
However, his loyalty with the nation came into question after being photographed with Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The 29-year-old subsequently became one of the scapegoats for Joachim Low's sides' disastrous first-round exit as World Champions - while also subjected to public criticism from prominent German officials and former players.
And it appears he's had enough with his latest statement released via his official Twitter account.
"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," he said in his statement.
"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 [German Football Association] 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.
"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.
"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. The decision has been extremely difficult to make because I have always given everything for my teammates, the coaching staff and the good people of Germany.
"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 not why I play football, and I will not sit back and do nothing about it. Racism should never, ever be accepted."
III / III pic.twitter.com/c8aTzYOhWU— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) July 22, 2018