German soccer star Mesut Ozil said on July 22 he would no longer play for the national team because he faced racism and disrespect.
His statement on Twitter comes amid a political debate in Germany about an influx of immigrants that has seen a rise of the far-right at the expense of traditional parties.
Ozil was a 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 29-year-old Arsenal midfielder faced a storm of criticism at home after he and teammate Ilkay Gundogan posed for a photo with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May.
Both players, who are of Turkish descent but were born in Germany, were jeered by some German fans in warmup games before the World Cup in Russia. Ozil was one of the scapegoats for Germany’s bad performance in the World Cup.
“I will no longer be playing for Germany at international level whilst I have this feeling of racism and disrespect,” Ozil said in his statement.(Reuters)