Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil said Sunday he has quit the German national football team, citing “racism” in the criticism of him after the side’s World Cup debacle.
Ozil, who has Turkish roots, had been under fire since posing 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 tournament in Russia.
In a four-page statement sent out in three images on Twitter and Instagram, an angry Ozil saved his bombshell for the final salvo.
“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,” he said.
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.