Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil’s father has said that his son should stop playing for the German national team for statements by the country’s football hierarchy that he felt were making “the scapegoat” out of him for the team’s early exit from the 2018 World Cup. Ozil was one of many players in Joachim Loew’s squad when they won the trophy in 2014 and when they were knocked out in the group stage in Russia.
Ozil and his German team mate Ilkay Gundogan, both of whom are of Turkish descent, were already under pressure coming into the tournament. Their photo with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan sparked widespread criticism with many questioning their loyalty to the German squad. That chorus has only increased since Germany’s debacle in Russia with team manager Olivier Bierhoff stating that Ozil should have been dropped after his failure to publicly clear up the Erdogan meeting.
Responding to those statements, Mustafa Ozil ssaid that it was “insolent” statement to make. “In my opinion, it is aimed at saving one’s own skin,” he said according to AFP. He also said that his son had taken the photo with Erdogan out of “politeness” and it was never meant to be a political statement. “He no longer wants to explain himself, he no longer wants to have to defend himself all the time. He has been playing for nine years in the German team… including becoming world champions with the A-team. He has contributed a lot for this country,” he said.
Ozil senior said that Mesut was being made a scapegoat for Germany’s failures in Russia. “It has always been: if we win, we win together. But when we lose, we lose because of Ozil? He is now getting whistled at and made a scapegoat. I can understand if he feels insulted,” he said.
Mustafa also said that if he was in place of the Arsenal midfielder he would have quit the national squad. “He needs to decide for himself. But if I were in his place, I’d say – thanks a lot but that’s it! The hurt has grown too strong. And who knows what’ll happen at the next match. In Mesut’s place, I would step down. But that’s just my very personal opinion,” he said.
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