Arsenal’s German midfielder Mesut Ozil has officially quit international football. This follows a series of politically inspired tensions where the footballer’s loyalty was questioned.
In a lengthy statement, the 29-year-old claims the bad treatment he receives from the German Football Association (DFB) makes him “no longer want to wear the German national team shirt”.
He also claimed he was being blamed for Germany’s disappointing World Cup.
Ozil was criticised after being photographed in May with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a London event. His loyalty to Germany’s squad ahead of the World Cup in Russia was serially questioned.
Ozil attended the event with fellow Germany international Ilkay Gundogan. Both of them are of Turkish descent.
Ozil, who has earlier defended his decision to pose for a photograph with the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan 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.
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.
See the full statement below.