Arsenal star, Mesut Ozil, has remarkably turned his back on his country at the age of 29, citing the “racism and disrespect” he suffered.
Ozil released a 2,320-word statement, confirming his retirement from international football and slamming the “racism and disrespect” he has suffered.
The Arsenal star was criticised for meeting with Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, before the World Cup and then slammed for his performances in Russia as Germany went out in the group stages.
The 29-year-old released the statement in three separate tweets across the day on Sunday and said that he couldn’t bring himself to wear the Germany shirt any more.
Excerpt from his statement:
“The past couple of weeks have given me time to reﬂect, and time to think over the events of the last few months. Consequently, I want to share my thoughts and feelings about what has happened.
“Like many people, my ancestry traces back to more than one country. Whilst I grew up in Germany, my family background has its roots ﬁrmly based in Turkey.
“I have two hearts, one German and one Turkish. During my childhood, my mother taught me to always be respectful and to never forget where I came from, and these are still values that I think about to this day.
“In May, I met President Erdogan in London, during a charitable and educational event. We ﬁrst met in 2010 after he and Angela Merkel watched the Germany vs. Turkey match together in Berlin.
“Since then, our paths have crossed a lot of times around the globe. I’m aware that the picture of us caused a huge response in the German media, and whilst some people may accuse me of lying or being deceitful, the picture we took had no political intentions.
“As I said, my mother has never let me lose sight of my ancestry, heritage and family traditions. For me, having a picture with President Erdogan wasn’t about politics or elections, it was about me respecting the highest ofﬁce of my family’s country.
“My job is a football player and not a politician, and our meeting was not an endorsement of any policies. In fact, we spoke about the same topic that we do every time we have met – football – as he too was a player in his youth.
“Although the German media have portrayed something different, the truth is that not meeting with the President would have been disrespecting the roots of my ancestors, who I know would be proud of where I am today.
“For me, it didn’t matter who was President, it mattered that it was the President. Having respect for political ofﬁce is a view that I’m sure both the Queen and Prime Minister, Theresa May, share when they too hosted Erdogan in London.
“Whether it had been the Turkish or the German President, my actions would’ve been no different.
“I get that this may be hard to understand, as in most cultures the political leader cannot be thought of as being separate from the person. But in this case, it is different.
“Whatever the outcome would’ve been in this previous election, or the election before that, I would have still taken the picture.”