The President of the German Football Association (DFB) has demanded that Mesut Ozil explain why he met with Recep Tayyip Erdogan ahead of the World Cup as the Arsenal man continues to be targeted after his country’s failings in Russia and his father says he should quit the national team.
Speaking to the media, Reinhard Grindel, said, “It’s true that Mesut has not commented yet, which has disappointed many fans because they have questions and expect an answer, and they rightly expect that answer.
“So it’s very clear to me that Mesut, when he returns from vacation, should also publicly give his view.
“We also want to wait and see how Mesut gets involved. It’s fair we give a well-deserved international who made a mistake a chance.”
Grindel was then asked about Ozil’s future with the national team. “It comes down to the athletic analysis of the national coach,” the DFB president added.
“In fact, I hope that Ozil’s opinion is so clear that the questions of the fans and the association are answered.”
If they are hoping Ozil will break his silence over the matter any time soon, they are set to be disappointed.
Ozil’s father, Mustafa, hit out at Oliver Bierhoff’s recent comments that his son shouldn’t even have been selected for the tournament in Russia and has even said he would quit the German team if he was in his son’s boots.
“This statement is insolent. In my opinion, it is aimed at saving one’s own skin,” he told Bild.
“[Ozil] no longer wants to explain himself, he no longer wants to have to defend himself all the time.
“He has been playing for nine years in the German team… including becoming world champions. He has contributed a lot for this country. It has always been: if we win, we win together.
“But when we lose, we lose because of Ozil? He is now getting whistled at and made a scapegoat. I can understand if he feels insulted.
“He needs to decide for himself. But if I were in his place, I’d say ‘thanks a lot but that’s it!’ The hurt has grown too strong. And who knows what’ll happen at the next match.
“In Mesut’s place, I would step down. But that’s just my very personal opinion.”
As Mesut Ozil trudged off the pitch against South Korea, fans hurled insults in his direction.
He’d just been part of the first ever German team to crash out in the group stages of a World Cup and he knew, if the last few weeks had anything to go by, that his life was about to get worse.
Before the World Cup kicked off in Russia, Mesut Ozil made a terrible error of judgement. For whatever reason, one he is refusing to explain, Ozil posed with Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
With Turkish ancestry, it initially doesn’t seem like a strange thing to do. But coming on the eve of the World Cup, with the German nation already concerned about their team that looked like it was going through the motions, what might have been easily dismissed as stupidity from Ozil for posing with someone like Erdogan, turned into a major national incident.
Chancellors and MPs got involved. Pundits across the country called for Ozil and Ilkay Gundogan, who was also present, to be dropped from the team. Gundogan spoke about his regret, but Mesut Ozil stayed silent.
It is perhaps that which is hurting him the most.
Used to being a scapegoat since his move to Arsenal, Ozil has had a rough ride in the British press over the past five years or so. But he has always been loved by the German fans.
Year after year they vote him fans’ player of the season. If he has been poor this season, and there’s no argument that he has, then all those awards, all that stockpiled love and respect should at least buy him some leeway.
But that has not happened.
The German press and fans have turned swiftly.
They call him dispassionate, not interested in the national team even though his body language now is the same as when he helped craft Germany’s World Cup win just four years ago.
Others in the squad for Russia were significantly worse than Ozil, but he is the one that Lothar Matthaus says should not have been selected for the tournament in the first place.
It is striking, then, given how upset Germans like Matthaus have been with Mesut Ozil, to see Matthaus himself posing with Vladimir Putin. It is the same sort of shot that Ozil stood for with Erdogan, albeit Matthaus is not alone.
Just so we're clear, Putin OK, but Erdogan not? Asking for a bug-eyed friend… pic.twitter.com/sn9qvTAIBW
— Daily Cannon (@DailyCannon) July 7, 2018
Is it ok to pose with one megalomaniac but not another?
Is there a sliding scale that tells us Putin is OK, but Erdogan is an authoritarian too far?
This seems like something we should all be on the same page about if we’re going to start castigating folks all over the media for meeting with the wrong wannabe-dictators.
I’ve no intention of defending Ozil for meeting with Erdogan, nor do I have any truck with defending Erdogan in any fashion. But what is the difference between these two events?
Why has one been covered as a normal football happening while the other was a major incident that caused comment to shift to the news pages and Angela Merkel to have to have a private meeting with the players involved?
Will anyone be sitting down with Alex Scott and Rio Ferdinand, who stood with Putin at a time when UK diplomats are not engaging with their Russian counterparts and the UK government have refused all invitations to attend the World Cup?
I doubt it…nor do I imagine anyone from the German FA will be having a word with Matthaus.
It’s probably all Mesut Ozil’s fault anyway…