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Arsenal star Ozil retires from international football due to discrimination

Arsenal and Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil has announced his retirement from international football.

The 29-year-old blamed the DFB (German Football Association), and chiefly its president Richard Grindel, for failing to defend him after his photo with Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan caused severe public backlash in the lead-up to the World Cup in Russia.

Ozil's situation was exacerbated by Die Mannschaft's elimination at the group stage, with the 29-year-old being singled out for his poor performances.

On Sunday night, the 2014 World Cup winner issued a statement in a series of tweets that explained his decision to retire, as well providing an explanation for his photograph with Erdogan.

Some key aspects are listed here:

"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 said in his statement.

"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 (German Football Association) 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.

"People with racially discriminative backgrounds should not be allowed to work in the largest football federation in the world that has players from dual-heritage families. Attitudes like theirs simply do not reflect the players they supposedly represent.

"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. The decision has been extremely difficult to make because I have always given everything for my teammates, the coaching staff and the good people of Germany.

"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."

In reference to Grindel, Özil said: "Arguably the issue that has frustrated me the most over the past couple of months has been the mistreatment from the DFB, and in particular the DFB President Richard Grindel," he said.

"Whilst I attempted to explain to Grindel my heritage, ancestry and therefore reasoning behind the photo, he was far more interested in speaking about his own political views and belittling my opinion.

"I will no longer stand for being a scapegoat for his (Grindel's) incompetence and inability to do his job properly."

About the author

Freddie Taylor

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