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Impact of Ozil retirement unprecedented in Germany: DFB vice-president

By Tom Webber
Mesut Ozil of Germany called it quits from international football in July

Berlin, August 5: The scale and impact of Mesut Ozil's international retirement is unprecedented, according to German Football Federation (DFB) vice-president Reinhard Rauball.

Ozil called time on his Germany career after their defence of the World Cup came to a surprise end in the group stage in Russia.

The build-up to Die Mannschaft's campaign was overshadowed by the fallout from the Arsenal playmaker and Manchester City's Ilkay Gundogan meeting with controversial Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Ozil heavily criticised the DFB and its president Reinhard Grindel for their handling of the incident when announcing his retirement on social media, and Rauball cannot remember another subject in German football dominating the news agenda as much.

"The topic has reached a magnitude that is unprecedented. Even the Bundesliga [match-fixing] scandal in the early 1970s did not make such waves," Rauball told Bild am Sonntag.

"I do not communicate via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and on this issue I have to say that I would prefer a more conservative form of communication, such as a face-to-face conversation.

"I've been part of the national team's delegation for 11 years and I've probably seen almost every single one of Mesut's 92 international appearances.

"I've come to know him as a very modest man who was very popular with the team and could have fun with them.

"I would be happy if we met again, perhaps after a little time, for a personal conversation."

While announcing his retirement, Ozil said he was treated a German when the national team won and Turkish whenever they lost.

"In the eyes of Grindel and his supporters, I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose. This is because despite paying taxes in Germany, donating facilities to German schools and winning the World Cup with Germany in 2014, I am still not accepted into society. I am treated as being 'different'.

"The treatment l have received from the OPE and many others makes me no longer want to wear the German national team shirt. I feel unwanted and think that 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 many players from dual-heritage families. Attitudes like theirs simply do not reflect the players they supposedly represent.

"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."

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Story first published: Sunday, August 5, 2018, 16:10 [IST]
Other articles published on Aug 5, 2018
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