Mesut Ozil has effectively closed the door on international football, citing criticism from the media and the German football federation president that struck him as racist.
In a statement posted on Twitter, he said that he “will no longer be playing for Germany… whilst I have this feeling of racism and disrespect.”
The German national football association, the DFB, did not carry news of the playmaker’s retirement on its website or social media accounts.
Ozil, a German footballer of Turkish descent, says he received criticism from German media after meeting Turkish President Racep Tayyip Erdogan in May in London, alongside his Germany teammate, Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan, who is also of Turkish descent, and Turkey’s Cenk Tosun, who plays for Premier League club Everton.
In the statement released Sunday, Ozil said that a section of the German media had “repeatedly” blamed his dual heritage and “a simple picture” — posing with Erdogan — “for a bad World Cup on behalf of an entire squad.”
Germany endured a disappointing defense of its 2014 trophy in Russia, ultimately failing to make it out of the group stage of the tournament.