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Mesut Özil: Arsenal midfielder leaves German national team citing 'unforgettable and unforgivable racism and disrespect'

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"In the eyes of Grindel and his supporters, I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose."

Germany and Arsenal midfielder Mesut Özil, 29, has quit international football following claims of racism. 

It follows his meeting with controversial Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in London this May alongside Germany's poor World Cup performance. These factors led to, "Unprecidented abuse," he argues in a twitter post.

Criticised for the meeting with Erdogan, Özil says it's enabled German politicians to make him, "A tool for political propaganda."

While German football officials have not responded to his claims, his departure has resulted in mixed reactions across the German political and social landscape. 

Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesperson said she valued him and 'respected' his decision.

"It is a warning sign regarding racism," German Justice Minister Katarina Barley tweeted. 

Özil's twitter statement details racism and mistreatment by those inside and out the DFB (The German Football Association), singling out DFB president Reinhard Grindel. 

Following the media reaction to the photograph with Erdogan, Özil tried to explain his reasoning and Turkish 'heritage', but found Grindel was 'belittling' his opinion.

The World Cup loss led Grindel, Özil states, to blame him for their, "Results in Russia," despite Grindel, allegedly previously saying, "It was over in Berlin." Özil asserts he will longer be Reinhard's 'scapegoat' and has highlighted the president's racism while in parliament. Grindel's stating multiculturalism is 'a myth,' voting against legislation for dual-nationalities and commenting that Islam is, "Too ingrained" in Germany, Ozil claims.

He cites racist comments that followed his meeting such as politician Bernd Holzhauer calling him a, "Goat-f*ker" and Theatre Chief Werner Steer telling him to, "Piss of to Anatolia." Ozil deems this a, "Disgraceful line to cross" and claims he has been made a, "Political propaganda" tool and focus for "Previously hidden racism" among public figures. 

"Despite being a German resident, tax-payer, winning the 2014 World Cup, having 92 caps, being voted favourite national player five times since 2011, receiving the 2014 Silver Laurel Leaf and being a 2015 Football Ambassador, clearly I am not German," Özil tweeted.

"I am only German when Germany wins and unlike friend Lukas Podolski, of Polish heritage, who is called German, I am known as 'German-Turkish." 

"I'm still not accepted," Özil says, warning that with many dual-heritage players in Germany, this racism can't be tolerated. 

Following such racism and disrespect, Özil hopes his departure, though difficult, acts as a statement that "Racism should never, ever be accepted."

Image rights - Wikimedia commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mesut_%C3%96zil,_Germany_national_football_team_(02).jpg 

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