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Ozil retires from German national team

23 July 2018

In a lengthy statement posted on Twitter, Ozil - a third-generation Turkish-German who was born in Gelsenkirchen - claimed German FA (DFB) chiefs "wanted him out of the team" before the tournament, due to the emergence of a photograph featuring Ozil and Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Between his debut in 2009 and his final appearance in June, Ozil played nearly 100 times for Germany, helping them win the World Cup in 2014 and even was voted as Germany's national player of the year on five separate occasions.

Ozil had said earlier that he was true to both his Turkish and German origins and insisted he did not intend to make a political statement by appearing with Erdogan.

"For me, having a picture with President Erdoğan wasn't about politics or elections, it was about me respecting the highest office of my family's country", Ozil wrote.

Ozil detailed how Grindel attempted to benefit from the fall-out of the player's meeting with Erdogan, aiming to use it as a means to express his own political views and undermine Ozil in the process.

'I will no longer be playing for Germany at worldwide level whilst I have this feeling of racism and disrespect.

In response, Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul congratulated Ozil in a Twitter post on Monday, saying by leaving the German national team, the player "has scored the most handsome goal against the virus of fascism".

Ozil quit the national team on Sunday citing a variety of reasons including the "racism and disrespect" he had suffered before, during and after the World Cup.

While Germany had a calamitous 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign, Ozil is still in his footballing peak and most players do not announce their worldwide retirement until they cross 30 at least.

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Ozil's announcement on social media late on Sunday lead national newspapers to clear their front pages for the midfielder, 29, a key member of Germany's World Cup-winning side in 2014 - and also of the side eliminated at the group stage of the 2018 tournament in Russian Federation.

"The treatment I have received from the DFB and many others makes me no longer want to wear the German national team shirt", said Ozil, who made 92 appearances for the national team.

The image was interpreted as explicit support for the campaign for the re-election of the Turkish president, who has a very tense relationship with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The Arsenal midfielder, along with Ilkay Gundogan, posed for a photo with the Turkish president, who has been accused of human rights abuses, back in May. "He won his last tackle before the 2014 World Cup".

The former Real Madrid man went on to note that Queen Elizabeth II and British prime minister Theresa May had likewise met with Erdogan, adding: "Whether it had been the Turkish or the German President, my actions would've been no different".

"During my childhood, my mother taught me to always be respectful and to never forget where I came from, and these are still values that I think about to this day".

Manchester City midfielder Gundogan presented Erdogan with a signed club shirt on which he had written "to my president".

"They all represent a Germany of the past, a Germany that I am not proud of".

Ozil retires from German national team