Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil made himself unavailable for the German national team following their dismal 2018 World Cup campaign.
He posted a long statement on his Twitter, citing ‘racism and disrespect’ as his primary reasons.
“Is it because it is Turkey? Is it because I’m a Muslim? I think here lays an important issue,” wrote Ozil.
“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.”
“I feel unwanted and think that what I have achieved since my international debut in 2009 has been forgotten.”
The 29-year-old playmaker attacked German Football Association (DFB) President Reinhard Grindel after he blamed Germany’s disappointing performance in Russia on Ozil.
“In the eyes of Grindel and his supporters I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose,” added Ozil.
His international retirement has been a major talking point in Germany over the last two-and-a-half months.
While some have shown support for Ozil, others such as Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller and Manuel Neuer have all dismissed his racism claims.
Germany teammate Marco Reus is currently on international duty and was asked to share his opinion on Ozil’s retirement.
Did you ever have any contact with Mesut Özil after the World Cup?
“Yes, we have written a few times,” Reus told SportBuzzer in an exclusive interview.
Did your opinion about him change after everything that happened?
“Personally, I’ve always got along great with Mesut, found him extremely pleasant as a human being, he always supported me and was one of the best players I’ve ever played with.
“What has gone around, has been said enough and should finally be ticked. It does not help anyone if the subject is reheated over and over again.”
Thankfully, someone has finally spoken some sense on the matter – hopefully Reus has put the subject to bed once and for all.
Meanwhile, Germany manager Joachim Low commented on the possibility of a return for Ozil.
“In my view, Mesut Ozil has clearly declared his retirement and closed the door by himself with that, so a comeback is not a topic,” Low told Sport Bild, as per Goal.
Ozil won the World Cup in 2014 but his international career appears to be over.
Hopefully, he can focus on his club career now.