BERLIN- German football star Mesut Ozil said on Sunday how would no longer play for the national team because of the “racism and disrespect” he has experienced because of his Turkish roots.

His statement which he posted on his social media was in English, and one of the strongest against racism, but his statement has been received by mixed reactions.

Ozil surprise retirement and statement comes at a time when Germany political climate has had an huge increase of an influx of migrants in the country since 2014, and this has given a rise of far- right movement.

The creative midfielder faced backlash after a post of a picture of himself with Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan,  the picture was taken May.

He and Ilkay Gundogan, a team mate also of Turkish descent who posed with Erdogan as well, were jeered by German fans in warm-up games before the World Cup in Russia.

For the first time in 80 years, German failed to qualify out of the group stages and Ozil was one of the players blamed for their dismal performances.

Ozil plays for English side Arsenal and criticized German Football Association (DFB) President Reinhard Grindel and said he had blamed him for Germany’s poor performance,  “In the eyes of Grindel and his supporters I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose,” Ozil wrote in a lengthy statement in English posted on his Twitter account.

“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,” he sai

“I used to wear the German shirt with such pride and excitement, but now I don’t,” he said. “I feel unwanted and think that what I have achieved since my international debut in 2009 has been forgotten.”

Germany’s Social Democrat Justice Minister Katarina Barley said on Twitter, “It’s alarming if a great German football player like Mesut Ozil no longer feels wanted in his country and doesn’t feel represented by the DFB due to racism.”

Photo Credit- ABC


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