Mesut Ozil quits German national team

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Arsenal and Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil announced he is retiring from international football with immediate effect.

In a lengthy statement, the 29-year-old said treatment he had received from the German Football Association (DFB) had made him “no longer want to wear the German national team shirt”.

He also claimed he was being blamed for Germany’s disappointing World Cup.

In May, Ozil was criticised after being photographed with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a London event.

Ozil attended the event with fellow Germany international Ilkay Gundogan. Both Ozil and Manchester City’s Gundogan are of Turkish descent.

Ozil says he and Gundogan talked about football with the president. Afterwards, photographs were released by Turkey’s governing AK Party in the build-up to elections in the country, which Erdogan won outright.

Ozil has won 92 caps for his country, scoring 23 goals and playing a key role as Germany won the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

“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 dont’,” Ozil wrote on Twitter.

“This decision has been extremely difficult because I have always given everything for my teammates, the coaching staff and the good people of Germany.

“But when high-ranking DFB officials treat me as they did, disrespect my Tukish roots and selfishly turn me into political proaganda, 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.”

Many German politicians questioned Ozil and Gundogan’s loyalty to German democratic values.

Germany has previously criticised the Turkish leader’s crackdown on political dissent following a failed coup.

Ozil said he would have been “disrespecting his ancestors’ roots” had he not posed for photographs with the Turkish president.

He added that he and his family had received hate mail, threatening phone calls and comments on social media.

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Fido

•Sport writer/blogger • Media strategist •Good citizen of Nigeria and Social Media Evangelist and a core die hard Real Madrid fan.

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