German football player Mesut Ozil has officially announced his retirement from international duty. Ozil was only 29, but he cited racism and even lashed out at the German football federation president.
So unfortunately, the Arsenal midfielder will remain at 92 caps, 23 goals and 40 assists for Die Mannschaft. It is said that his retirement was politically motivated, following tensions regarding his Turkish roots. He was even dropped from the starting XI during this summer’s World Cup. Sadly, the defending champions crashed out in the group stage.
Ozil was heavily criticised for meeting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May. He and fellow player Ilkay Gundogan posed for a photo with Erdogan.
“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 made his senior debut in February 2009 and became one of the stars of a revived German side at the 2010 World Cup. Die Mannschaft finished third in the tournament.
He went on to start in every game at a major tournament until Germany’s 2-1 win against Sweden at the 2018 World Cup. This was after a 1-0 defeat to Mexico in the opening game, amid the ongoing row over his willingness to integrate into German society.
He said, “This is all ironic because a German Ministry declared their products have illegal and unauthorized software devices in them, which puts customers at risk. … Am I right in thinking this is worse than a picture with the President of my family’s country? What does the DFB have to say about all this.”