After 92 caps, nine years and a World Cup win, Mesut Özil’s Germany career looks set to end in brave tweets and burnt bridges. The 29-year-old said on Sunday that he will never again play for Germany while he has “this feeling of racism and disrespect.”
Özil’s trio of furious but focused Twitter missives on Sunday laid bare a long list of grievances about his treatment by the German media, the German FA (DFB) and the national team’s fans in the wake of the controversy caused when Özil — and Germany teammate Ilkay Gündogan — posed for photos with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
DFB President Reinhard Grindel was Özil’s primary target. “I will no longer stand for being a scapegoat for his incompetence and inability to do his job properly,” read one of several scathing lines in the third lengthy statement.
Questions to answer for DFB boss
Earlier, Özil had set his sights on the media. “What I can’t accept,” Özil wrote,” are German media outlets repeatedly blaming my dual-heritage and a simple picture for a bad World Cup on behalf of an entire squad.
His anger is justified. And after Özil answered Grindel’s earlier demand that he speak out on the Erdogan photo, the onus now falls on the DFB chief to do some explaining of his own. Grindel initially backed Löw’s decision to take Özil to the World Cup then decided Özil needed to answer for his actions at the very moment when his organisation were desperately searching for someone to blame for their limp World Cup surrender. All very convenient.
“Many fans were disappointed because they had questions for [Özil] and expected an answer,” he told German football magazine kicker earlier this month. “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.”