Mesut Ozil has announced his immediate retirement from international football. The Germany midfielder made the announcement on Sunday evening claiming to have been the subject of “racism and disrespect” following his high-profile and controversial meeting with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan prior to the World Cup.
The picture with Erdogan saw the Arsenal man pose with the Turkish president and German teammate Ilkay Gundogan.
Both players came in for heavy criticism from fans and pundits in their homeland as a result with leading German football figures including Oliver Bierhoff and Ottmar Hitzfeld suggesting that both should not have been allowed to represent their country in Russia.
Germany, of course, went on to crash out of the tournament in the group stages and after earlier moving to clarify his position over the picture in question Ozil again took to Twitter to officially announce his retirement from the international game.
“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.”