Mesut Ozil's racism claims remain controversial

Ruben Holloway
July 24, 2018

And though Matthaus, a World Cup victor with Germany in 1990, said the media coverage around the photograph played its part in Ozil's decision, he believes Germany would be better served going forward without the Arsenal playmaker's services.

A year or so ago, I met up with Mesut Özil and, perhaps unsurprisingly, we found ourselves comparing notes on being the offspring of immigrants.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday the treatment of Mesut Ozil was unacceptable after the football star quit Germany's national team.

The stopper began by quoting a section of the extensive letter Ozil posted on Sunday, explaining his worldwide retirement, before adding: "Stand for Ozil and say no to racism".

However, the team failed to get beyond the group stages of the recent World Cup in Russian Federation, despite being one of the favourites.

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Ozil was part of the German team that suffered an embarrassing exit at the recent Fifa World Cup.

The German Football Association (DFB) on Monday refuted Ozil's allegations of racism, but the fiasco has damaged the governing body's reputation in football-mad Germany.

"The chancellor values Mesut Ozil highly. Not only is he a disgrace to yourself, but also and more importantly a shame to German football and the people of Germany".

"Every player, no matter whether they are in the public eye or not, has a right to be protected from abuse, discrimination and messages expressing hate".

The third-generation Turkish-German was born in Gelsenkirchen and was a key member of his country's 2014 World Cup-winning side.

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Recalling the times when he played in Europe, Ozalan said he had also been exposed to racist attacks.

"It wasn't about politics or elections, it was about me respecting the highest office of my family's country", he added. "I congratulate Mesut Ozil who by leaving the national team has scored the most handsome goal against the virus of fascism", Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul wrote on Twitter.

"I think we don't have a problem".

Bayern Munich chief Uli Hoeness said he welcomed Ozil's retirement, saying: "I am glad that this scare is now over", the Bayern boss told Bild.

Fellow players have their say.

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