7/22/2018 11:27:59 PM

Ozil, citing 'racism', quits Germany side after World Cup debacle

Ozil, citing

Berlin: Mesut Ozil said Sunday he was quitting the German national football team, citing "racism" in the criticism of him in the side's World Cup debacle.

"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 while I have this feeling of racism and disrespect," he tweeted.

Ozil, who has Turkish roots, had earlier defended his decision to pose for a controversial photograph with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May which sparked questions about his loyalty to Germany's squad ahead of the World Cup in Russia.

In a three-part statement on Twitter sent over the course of the day, an angry Ozil saved his bombshell for the final salvo.

In it, the Arsenal midfielder blamed the German Football Federation (DFB) for failing to defend him against his most strident critics.

"Arguably the issue that has frustrated me the most over the past couple of months has been the mistreatment from the DFB, and in particular the DFB President Richard Grindel," he said.

He said that Grindel and Germany coach Joachim Loew had asked him to give a "joint statement to end all the talk and set the record straight" over the picture with Erdogan.

"Whilst I attempted to explain to Grindel my heritage, ancestry and therefore reasoning behind the photo, he was far more interested in speaking about his own political views and belittling my opinion."

Ozil said he had been unfairly blamed in Germany for the side's shock first-round defeat at the World Cup.

"I will no longer stand for being a scapegoat for his (Grindel's) incompetence and inability to do his job properly," he said.

Ozil 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.

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