German soccer star Mesut Ozil, who has drawn widespread criticism for having his photograph taken with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, said on Sunday (July 22) he would no longer play internationally for Germany.
“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,” Ozil said in a statement posted on his Twitter account.
Ozil, 29, was a key member of Germany’s World Cup-winning side in 2014 and has been voted by fans as the team’s player of the year five times since 2011. But the creative midfielder faced a barrage of criticism at home for having his photograph taken with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in May.
The Gunners, led by their new head coach Unai Emery who was appointed after the long-serving Arsene Wenger stepped down at the end of last season, will play Spain’s Atletico Madrid on July 26 at the National Stadium and French league champions Paris Saint-Germain on July 28.