Germany’s general manager, Oliver Bierhoff and their FA’s president, Reinhard Grindel, have been urged to step down after attacks on Mesut Ozil following their country’s poor World Cup.
Mesut Ozil has been targeted as the main reason Germany crashed out of the World Cup in Russia in the group stages.
His meeting with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which came on the eve of the tournament, has been used as a hammer with which to beat him repeatedly. While no doubt a stupid move from Ozil, who seems smart enough to know the problems posing with Erdogan would cause, the response has been hyperbolic, to say the least.
We’ve had calls for him to be removed from the national team while Bierhoff questioned why he was picked in the first place.
Speaking to ESPN, the chairman of Germany’s Central Council of Muslims, Aiman Mazyek, however, called on Bierhoff and Grindel to be the ones to step down.
“Putting the boot in is punished with a red card in sports,” Mazyek said.
“Bierhoff and Grindel must step down if they have not learned anything else in their long career than: ‘You lose as Ozil’ instead of ‘You lose as a team’.”
German teammate, Jerome Boateng has also come to the defence of Ozil.
“Everyone has picked out Mesut Ozil, but that’s not possible, Mesut is a human,” the 29-year-old said.
“He’s an artist on the ball, not a fighter in the defence like me, so maybe he comes across badly. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to win or he does it on purpose.
“It was a difficult situation for him at the end.”
Per Mertesacker has also come out firing in defence of Ozil
While Ozil certainly didn’t enjoy the best tournament of his career, he was not the worst German in Russia.
Yet, the controversy surrounding his meeting with Recep Tayyip Erdogan before the competition kicked off, and his subsequent refusal to issue a statement about the matter has infuriated many across the nation.
This, despite the fact that one of Ozil’s biggest critics recently met with Vladimir Putin and posed for a photograph with the authoritarian Russian leader.
Ozil’s father has called upon him to quit the national set-up in the wake of the criticism.
Mertesacker was speaking to the radio station, NDR2, this week and was strong in his defence of his Arsenal teammate, while also offering his support.
“Tying everything to his person is wrong,” said Mertesacker.
“I think it’s just good that he’s on holiday now, that he can look back, I think he’s very self-critical and can see that [it was not all his fault] well.
“He knows he can call me anytime and count on me, we’ve been playing together for so long and we’ve seen so many great things.”