Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil has announced his retirement from international football with Germany.
The former Schalke 04 and Real Madrid star made this known via his official Twitter handle as he claimed to have been the subject of “racism and disrespect” after his his controversial meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan alongside Germany teammate Ilkay Gundogan before the just concluded FIFA World Cup tournament in Russia.
Ozil and Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan were heavily criticised following Germany’s shock elimination in the group stage in Russia.
Joachim Low’s team finished bottom of Group F behind South Korea, Mexico and Sweden.
Ozil said: “The treatment I have received from the DFB and many others makes me no longer want to wear the German national team shirt,” he said as part of a lengthy statement. “I feel unwanted and think that what I have achieved since my international debut in 2009 has been forgotten.”
He added: “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.
“This decision has benn extremely difficult to make 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 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.” He concluded.
Mesut Ozil, 29, has scored 23 goals in 92 appearances since making his debut for Germany in 2009.
He was hugely influential for Germany as they were crowned world champions at the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament in Brazil.