Once a German star, now victim of racism: Key facts that forced Arsenal's Mesut Özil to retire

The 29-year-old player played in top leagues in the world La Liga, Bundesliga and English Premier League but had to retire from German national football team.

Mesut Özil
Mesut Özil retires from national team due to racism and disrespectful events. Reuters

The football world stunned and social media platforms over flooded with posts and comments after German footballer Mesut Özil announced his unplanned retirement news from Die Mannschaft over "racism and disrespect" on Sunday, July 22 that he was facing for few months.

The four-page long statement not only showed how exhausted and disappointed the 29-year-old Arsenal player is but also uncovered the dark side of German football fans, the media and mostly the German Football Association or DFB (Deutscher Fußball-Bund).

Many supporters of the German team, who believe that Özil is one of the greatest players of this era, were shocked to know that the 2014 FIFA World Cup winning country could let their one of the best players go away due to racist mentality.

Even though the attacking midfielder, who made his debut in 2009 for the national team, achieved many awards and respect for his contribution as a player of the German team, his own country slammed him so hard that he had to make the decision to retire from the national team.

Despite having a horrible history during German dictator Adolf Hitler's rule, the country was believed to come out from the dark zone and established their name as one of the greatest nations in the world. But the discrimination, racial abuse and the disrespectful events that Özil and his family had to face due to their Turkish roots, clearly showed that Germany is still far away to follow "No to Racism" slogan.

Here are some major key points from the statement that you need to know:

  • Özil said in the statement that when German football team ended their 2018 World Cup journey, he and his family not only received threatening emails and harassing phone calls, but he also treated as an immigrant, not a team player.
  • After facing such unbelievable attitude he questioned that even after receiving 'Silver Laurel Leaf' in 2014 from the Federal Republic of Germany, holding apposition like 'German Football Ambassador' in 2015, now suddenly the country rejected to accept him as a German, so, is there any criteria for being fully German that he does not fit in?
  • Even though Özil was born in Gelsenkirchen, West Germany, his ancestors were from Turkey. After taking a picture with the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that photo became a huge issue, even a German politician Bernd Holzhauer called him "GOAT-F**KER." The Chief of German Theatre Erner Steer told him "PISS OFF TO ANATOLIA," (Anatolia is a place where many immigrants are based).
    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meets with Arsenal's soccer player Mesut Ozil in London, Britain May 13, 2018. Picture taken May 13, 2018.
    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meets with Arsenal's soccer player Mesut Ozil in London, Britain May 13, 2018. Picture taken May 13, 2018. Reuters/ Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Palace/Handout
  • He clearly stated that the picture was used as an opportunity to express the racist tendency that was hidden for a while. Even after the defeat in World Cup, he was the player who not only heard criticism but also received comments like, "Özil, F**K OFF YOU TURKISH S**T, P**S OFF YOU TURKISH PIG."
  • He raised his voice against the racial abuse he faced by the high-ranking DFB officials. He also commented on German journalist Reinhard Grindel's actions and stated that it was not surprising that in 2004 when he was the Member of Parliament, where the politician said that "multiculturalism is unreality a myth [and] a lifelong lie" and he also voted against the legislation of dual-nationalities and punishments for bribery. Özil also revealed that 56-year-old Grindel once said that Islamic culture has become too ingrained in many German cities.
  • During his entire football career many football pundits, journalists and experts criticised his game and found faults. But the most unaccepted incident happened when the German media outlets started to blame his dual-heritage and a picture with Turkish President for a bad World Cup run on behalf of the entire squad.
  • Özil also pointed out that when the former German player captain Lothar Matthäus met with another world leader a few days ago, the media hardly talked about that. Despite his role in the DFB, he was not asked to publically explain his actions. So, the former Real Madrid player question that his Turkish heritage made him a more worthy target?
  • Meanwhile, when he planned to visit his school Berger-Feld in Gelsenkirchen, a few days ago the visit his charitable partners stated that they no longer wanted to work with him and later his school told his management that they don't want Özil there.
  • DFB took him out of the pre-World Cup Campaigns and cancelled all of his promotional activities after the photo came out.