World Cup 2018: Mesut Özil urged by his father to retire after being made Germany’s ‘scapegoat’

Özil has 92 caps for Germany but was criticised for underperforming in Russia

Jack Watson
Monday 09 July 2018 12:50
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Mesut Özil has been urged by his father to retire from international football after being used as a “scapegoat” for Germany Football’s shortcomings at the World Cup.

The Arsenal star started two of Germany’s games but was dropped against Sweden as the 2014 champions crashed out in a shocking group stage exit.

Özil has 92 caps for Germany, has scored 23 goals and helped them lift the World Cup four years ago, but his father, Mustafa, claimed that the midfielder is “offended” by the way he is treated by the national fans, who criticised his individual performances, amongst many, in this summer’s failed tournament.

“If I were in his place, I would say: ‘Thank you, but that’s enough,’” Mustafa told German newspaper BILD. “He’s bent, disappointed and offended, yes offended. His own fans booed him before the World Cup at the International in Austria and he cannot understand why.”

Özil scored in Germany’s pre-tournament friendly against Austria but was booed by fans in the 2-1 defeat, along with Ilkay Gundogan. The pair were also caught up in off-field controversy when they were pictured with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Ozil was dropped for Germany's only World Cup win 

“It wasn’t the first photo of Mesut with Erdogan, I knew it wasn’t a political statement from him or anything like that,” said Özil’s father. “He had it taken out of politeness. Mesut is a reserved person, almost shy, how could he have turned down a photo if a man like Erdogan asks him?

“He doesn’t always have to defend himself. He’s played in the national team for nine years and became a world champion,” Mustafa added. “It’s always said that if we win, we win together, but if we lose, we lose because of Ozil. He’s booed and put up as a scapegoat – I completely understand that he is offended.

Ozil came in for heavy criticism during the World Cup (AFP/Getty)

“Mesut’s been an example for years. The situation is absurd – he loves Germany and has shown commitment to his country, that he’s presented as a scapegoat is so unfair.”

Ozil is expected to report for pre-season training on Monday 23 July, shortly before Arsenal fly to south-east Asia. He joined the Gunners from Real Madrid in 2013 and wore the number 11 shirt for five years, but has taken Jack Wilshere’s number ten shirt after he left the club.

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