Mesut Özil’s International Football Career Ends After Erdogan Controversy

The German national team who were World Cup champions back in 2014, failed to qualify to the knockout stages in 2018. South Korea eliminated Germany by a 2-0 win in the final group stage game leaving a clear way for both Sweden and Mexico to qualify for the knockout stages. The early elimination of the world champions was appalling for the German people, but Mesut Özil’s international retirement was more dreadful to all football fans around the globe.

Mesut Özil’s Remarkable International Career Stats.

Having had his international debut in 2009, Mesut Özil’s intriguing international career has put him alongside elite profile players in the past 9 years.

  1. Won 92 caps for the Germany national team.
  2. Has been selected as best German player in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016
  3. 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Championship winner.
  4. 2012 UEFA Euro qualifying top assist provider.
  5. 2015 German Football Ambassador Public Award.
  6. 2014 World Cup qualifications top scorer with eight goals.
  7. 2014 World Cup champion.
  8. Scored 21 goals in 83 appearances

Mesut Özil’s President Visit. 

Mesut Özil and his teammate İlkay Gündoğan, both of Turkish descent, posed for photographs with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ahead of both the Russian World Cup and the Turkish general election. The photographs questioned Mesut Özil’s devotion to the German side and him supporting Erdoğan’s policies, as Erdoğan was accused of human rights abuses and attacked the German nation before.

All parties were silent until the World Cup trip for the German side came to an early end in the group stage. Mesut Özil conveyed messages on social media to interpret the photographs saying that taking photographs with Erdoğan was about “respecting the highest office of my family’s country”. 

DFB and German People Reacts.

Özil cited that one German fan addressed him after the Sweden game, “Özil, f*** off you Turkish shit, piss off you Turkish pig”. In addition to him and his family receiving hate mail, threatening phone calls and social media abuse. Reinhard Grindel, president of the DFB (German Football Association) was the main brains behind the controversy as Mesut Özil stated that Grindel displayed racism and disrespect to the German international on multiple occasions.

Mesut Özil’s Announcement.

“In the eyes of Grindel and his supporters, I am German when we win, immigrant when we lose” was the most shared statement from Özil’s words.

“The treatment I have received from the DFB (German Football Association) and many 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. 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.

Mesut Özil directly addressed the DFB President in his announcement: “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”.

Other Racism Incidents.

Sadly, it has not happened just once with Mesut. There are other footballers from other countries and other roots that faced racism.

“When things were going well, they called me Romelu Lukaku, the Belgian striker. When things were not going well, they called me Romelu Lukaku, the Belgian striker of Congolese descent” Lukaku accused the Belgian newspapers.

Karim Benzema, French international of Algerian roots, claimed he was left out the Euro 2016 squad after Didier Deschamps was pressured to because of Karim’s Arab roots, alongside with Hatem Ben Arafa.

Back in 2013, Roma fans targeted both Mario Balotelli and Kevin-Prince Boateng with monkey chants.

We are trying to recognize each other without discrimination. The scuffle with racism would never stop unless all individuals of different roots can recognize their rights. Skin, religion, heritage and ancestry do not characterize what a person deserves, we all deserve to be treated like who we really are, and we are all humans.