Mesut Ozil Germany Retirement

Ozil has confirmed that he is retiring from international football with immediate effect following the

Germany's Mesut Ozil announced his retirement from global football on Sunday at the age of 29.

Ozil and fellow German midfielder Ikay Gundogan, both of whom have Turkish roots, came under criticism from German politicians and the head of the German Football Federation Reinhard Grindel when a photo surfaced of them posing with Erdogan before the start of the 2018 World Cup.

Gundogan distanced himself from the picture, but Ozil refused to comment publicly until Sunday, when he published a statement in English on Twitter in which he said the photo "was about me respecting the highest office of my family's country".

Ilkay Gundogan, Ozil and Everton striker Cenk Tosun met Erdogan in London.

And in the concluding section of the statement on Sunday, Ozil confirmed he will no longer be available for selection by Germany coach Joachim Loew.

Ozil and four-time winners Germany crashed out of the World Cup at the group stage after suffering two defeats in their three group games - their worst performance at the tournament since 1938.

"Whether it had been the Turkish or German president, my actions would have been no different".

"It is with a heavy heart and after much consideration that because of recent events, I will no longer be playing for Germany at global level whilst I have this feeling of racism and disrespect".

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'I used to wear the German shirt with such pride and excitement, but now I don't.

Ozil said the meeting did not amount to any endorsement of Erdogan's policies and added that they had discussed football.

'That is not why I play football, and I will not sit back and do nothing about it.

Lothar Matthaus (an honorary German national team captain) met with another world leader a few days back, and received nearly no media criticism.

The way Ozil has been treated by German media, politicians and especially the DFB has caused him to make the "difficult decision" to announce his worldwide retirement, saying that: "I now feel unwanted and think that what I have achieved since my global debut in 2009 has been forgotten".

The photographs unleashed a storm of criticism from politicians across Germany's political spectrum, who argued that Erdogan does not sufficiently respect German values.

Ozil said his former school in the western city of Gelsenkirchen also canceled a planned visit over the incident.

"For me, it didn't matter who was President, it mattered that it was the President".

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