Reinhard Grindel took fire at Mesut Özil just days after DFB Manager, Oliver Bierhoff, claimed the playmaker should have been left at home for Germany’s World Cup campaign.
Grindel publicly backed national coach Joachim Löw’s decision to include Özil in his final 23-man squad for Russia when the announcement was made in June. He appears to have reversed his stance towards the player following the World Cup, however.
“Many fans were disappointed because they had questions for [Mesut] and expected an answer,” he told German football magazine kicker on Sunday. “For me it is absolutely clear that, once he returns from holiday, and with his own interests in mind, he should make his views heard.”
Grindel’s comments echo those made last Friday by Bierhoff, who told German outlet Welt that Özil’s decision not to explain his actions after being photographed — along with national teammate Ilkay Gündogan — with Turkish president Recep Erdogan, should have been reason enough to omit him from the World Cup squad.
The players, both of Turkish heritage, were captured posing with the controversial leader at a charity event in London in May, sparking backlash among fans and the media for showing mixed allegiances on the eve of an international tournament.
“The [media] debate just wouldn’t stop,” Bierhoff said. “In hindsight, I would have tried to deal with this issue in a more decisive manner.”
Özil’s father, Mustafa, came to his son’s defense on Sunday, stating that he would quit the national team if he were in his son’s position, and believes the Arsenal midfielder is often seen as an easy target following international defeats.