Mesut Ozil has announced his retirement from international football and playing with Germany’s national team with immediate effect after criticizing what he called as unfair discrimination surrounding his meeting with the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan back in May.
The Arsenal midfielder has Turkish ancestry and defended his actions in a lengthy statement posted on social media in which he attacked the German football federation (DFB).
Ozil, a key member of the 2014 World Cup-winning side, and team mate Ilkay Gundogan, both of Turkish descent, had to deal with a barrage of criticism at home after they were pictured with Erdogan in London in May.
“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,” he wrote on Twitter. “My job is a football player and not a politician, and our meeting was not an endorsement of any policies.
“The treatment I have received from the DFB and many others makes me no longer want to wear the German national team shirt. I feel unwanted and think what I have achieved since my international debut in 2009 has been forgotten,” he added.