Germany’s Mesut Ozil has announced his retirement from international football, blaming racism and lashing out at the president of the German football federation.
The 29 year old Arsenal midfielder was reported to have announced that he is retiring
following political tensions regarding his Turkish roots and being dropped from the starting XI during this summer’s World Cup as the defending champions crashed out in the group stage.
Ozil was criticised in Germany for meeting Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May, when he and Ilkay Gundogan posed for a photo with the Turkish president during his visit to London.
Breaking his silence, Ozil on Sunday posted a lengthy statement on social media insisting that he had done nothing wrong, before finally concluding that he was done playing for the German national team.
“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,” he wrote. “I used to wear the German shirt with such pride and excitement, but now I don’t,” he said.
Born to Turkish parents, Ozil opted to play for Germany in November 2006 when invited by Turkey’s FA to take part in a friendly against Italy.
Ozil became a key player for Germany’s golden generation, starting by winning the 2009 Under-21 European Championships. Ozil was a member of the team that went on to win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.