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Ozil quits German national team amid racism claims

Mesut Ozil has claimed that he will no longer wear the German National team shirt after being disrespected by high ranking officials in the German FA (DFB).

The Arsenal midfielder was widely criticised in Germany this summer for his decision to be pictured with controversial Turkish President Recip Tayyip Erdogan, with the criticism only intensifying after Germany were dumped out of the World Cup after the group stages.

Ozil, who is of mixed German and Turkish heritage, took to social media on Sunday to defend his actions, saying that he and his family have received hate mail, threatening phone calls and social media abuse:

“For me, having a picture with President Erdogan wasn’t about politics or elections, it was about me respecting the highest office of my family’s country,” he said in his statement.

“My job is a football player and not a politician, and our meeting was not an endorsement of any policies.

“The treatment I have received from the DFB (German Football Association) and many others makes me no longer want to wear the German national team shirt.

“I feel unwanted and think what I have achieved since my international debut in 2009 has been forgotten.

“People with racially discriminative backgrounds should not be allowed to work in the largest football federation in the world that has players from dual-heritage families. Attitudes like theirs simply do not reflect the players they supposedly represent.

“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.

“I used to wear the German shirt with such pride and excitement, but now I don’t. The decision has been extremely difficult to make because I have always given everything for my teammates, the coaching staff and the good people of Germany.

“When high-ranking DFB officials treat me as they did, disrespect my Turkish roots and selfishly turn me into political propaganda, then enough is enough. That is not why I play football, and I will not sit back and do nothing about it. Racism should never, ever be accepted.”

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