Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil has surprised everybody with a statement on social media saying that he no longer wants to play for the German national team. The 29-year-old midfielder says his decision was due to the treatment he had received from the German Football Association (DFB). Moreover, the Arsenal star added that he was blamed for Germany's poor performance at the 2018 World Cup, where Joachim Low's side failed to qualify from the group stage. Everything seems to have started in the month of May, when Mesut Ozil was photographed with with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a London event. Ozil is of Turkish descent, but president Erdogan is quite controversial in the West due to his authoritarian policies.
In fact, many German politicians questioned Ozil's loyalty to German democratic values due to those photos, but the player replied that he would have been "disrespecting his ancestors' roots" had he not posed for photographs with the Turkish president. Ozil added that he and his family had received hate mail, threatening phone calls and comments on social media. "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," Ozil added. He won the World Cup in 2014 with the German national team and has been voted Germany's national team player of the year on five occasions. "I used to wear the German shirt with such pride and excitement, but now I don't. 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."
Germany are 7/1 at Bet365 to win the next World Cup, in 2022.