2014 FIFA World Cup winner for Germany, Mesut Ozil on Sunday announced his retirement from international football following a media outrage and much criticism for having his photograph taken with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.
Ozil took to Twitter and released an official statement defending his stance over the photograph of him with Turkish President.
"My job is a football player and not a politician, and our meeting was not an endorsement of any policies," Ozil said in the official statement.
The past couple of weeks have given me time to reflect, and time to think over the events of the last few months. Consequently, I want to share my thoughts and feelings about what has happened. pic.twitter.com/WpWrlHxx74— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) July 22, 2018
Few hours following his statement over the controversial photograph, Ozil said that the treatment he has received from DFB (German Football Association), media, pundits and others “makes me no longer want to wear the German national team shirt.”
"I feel unwanted and think what I have achieved since my international debut in 2009 has been forgotten.
"People with racially discriminative backgrounds should not be allowed to work in the largest football federation in the world that has players from dual-heritage families. Attitudes like theirs simply do not reflect the players they supposedly represent.
II / III pic.twitter.com/Jwqv76jkmd— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) July 22, 2018
"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," the Arsenal midfielder said.
"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, 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," Ozil added.
III / III pic.twitter.com/c8aTzYOhWU— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) July 22, 2018
The former Real Madrid man was part of the team that crashed out of the FIFA World Cup 2018 in the group stage, marking their worst World Cup performance since 1938.
Mesut Ozil was an integral part of the German 2014 World Cup winning squad.