23rd July, 2018
Just when we all thought that the issue of racism was dying slowly especially in sporting quarters, the world has been given a jolt of a reminder as a top notch footballer has just announced his retirement from international football.
His main reason? Your guess is as good as mine – Racism.
The person in question by the way, is none other than the well-known German and Arsenal Mid-fielder, Mezut Ozil.
Ozil who plays for the German National Football Team as a midfielder made the announcement on Sunday evening claiming to have been the subject of “racism and disrespect” following his high-profile and controversial meeting with the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan just before the World Cup.
That meeting with Erdogan ended with the football star posing in a photo shoot with the Turkish president and German teammate Ilkay Gundogan, a situation that keen observers had suggested had something special about it.
This was eventually confirmed as both players came under heavy criticism from fans and pundits in their homeland as a result with leading German football figures such as Oliver Bierhoff and Ottmar Hitzfeld suggesting that both players should not have been allowed to represent their country at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Competition in Russia.
After earlier on moving to clarify his position over the picture in question Mesut Ozil again took to Twitter to officially announce his retirement from the international game.
In a statement, the respected midfielder had the following to say;
“The treatment I have received from the DFB and many others makes me no longer want to wear the German national team shirt,” he said as part of a lengthy statement. “I feel unwanted and think that everything that I have achieved since my international debut in 2009 has suddenly been forgotten.”
Ozil then went on to add:
“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.
“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 the way 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.”
What an unfortunate situation not just for Mesut Ozil but for the whole world of Football in itself just at a time that FIFA is trying its best to remove racist elements from the game.
And what a shame this is generally to all those responsible for this situation in which the amiable Mesut Ozil has now found himself.