Germany star Mesut Ozil has confirmed he is retiring from international football with immediate effect in a searing attack on German Football Federation (DFB) president Reinhard Grindel.
Ozil was criticised by the DFB after meeting Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan before the World Cup.
The Arsenal star, who has Turkish heritage, explained yesterday his meeting with controversial figure Erdogan “had no political intentions”.
In the second part of a three-part statement, Ozil hit out at the DFB over its handling of the incident, suggesting the Erdogan meeting has been cited unfairly as a factor in Germany’s group-stage exit at Russia 2018.
Ozil’s lengthy letter also saw him make stinging accusations against German politicians and some fans, as he elaborated on how he felt his Turkish roots had been disrespected, treatment he felt amounted to “racism”.
And in the concluding section of the statement later on Sunday, Ozil confirmed he will no longer be available for selection by Germany coach Joachim Low, pointing the finger at Grindel for being “patronising” and “incompetent”, as well as accusing him of belittling the midfielder’s opinion.
In the final part of his announcement, the 29-year-old wrote: “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 disrespect.
“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 [DFB] president Reinhard Grindel.
“After my picture with president Erdogan, I was asked by Joachim Low to cut short my holiday and go to Berlin and give a joint statement to end all of the talk and set the record straight.
“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.
“Whilst his actions were patronising, we came to agree that the best thing to do was to concentrate on the football and the upcoming World Cup. This is why I didn’t attend the DFB media day during the World Cup preparations.
“I knew journalists discussing politics and not football would just attack me, even though the whole issue was deemed to be over by Oliver Bierhoff in a TV interview he did.
“Since the end of the World Cup, Grindel has come under much pressure regarding his decisions before the tournament started, and rightly so.
“Recently he has publicly said I should once again explain my actions and puts me at fault for the poor team results in Russia, despite telling me it was over in Berlin.
“I am speaking now not for Grindel, but because I want to. I will no longer stand for being a scapegoat for his incompetence and inability to do his job properly.
“I used to wear the German shirt with such pride and excitement, but now I don’t. This 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.
“But when high-ranking DFB officials treat me as they did, then enough is enough. That is not why I play football and I will not sit back and do nothing about it.”
The playmaker has won 92 caps for his country, scoring 23 goals and played a key role as Germany won the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Today the DFB denied Ozil’s allegations of racism and insisted he should have explained his actions following his meeting with Erdogan.
The DFB admitted it played a role in questions being raised of Ozil’s actions, but maintained he should have followed the lead of Gundogan and explained himself.
“The pictures with the Turkish president Erdogan raised questions in the German society,” the statement read. “We admit that the DFB has a share in this.
“And we regret that Mesut Ozil had the feeling that he wasn’t protected enough against racist slogans – like Jerome Boateng once was.
“But it was important that Mesut Ozil gave answers to the topic, like Ilkay Gundogan did, regardless of the result at the World Cup in Russia. At the DFB, we win and lose together, everyone as a team.
“The DFB would have been happy if Mesut Ozil remained a part of the team. He decided to not do so.
“We respect that and it is a sign of respect that we leave some of the statements that we do not agree with in terms of content and tone uncommented in public.