Mesut Ozil said on Sunday that he was quitting the German national football team, citing “racism” in the criticism of him in the side’s World Cup debacle.
Ozil, who has Turkish roots, had earlier defended his decision to pose for a controversial photograph with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May which sparked questions about his loyalty to Germany’s squad ahead of the World Cup in Russia.
In a three-part statement on Twitter sent over the course of the day, an angry Ozil saved his bombshell for the final salvo.
In it, the Arsenal midfielder blamed the German Football Federation (DFB) for failing to defend him against his most strident critics.
He said that Grindel and Germany coach Joachim Loew had asked him to give a “joint statement to end all the talk and set the record straight” over the picture with Erdogan.
Ozil said he had been unfairly blamed in Germany for the side’s shock first-round defeat at the World Cup.