Uli Hoeness has continued his bid to stay in the news with yet another unprovoked attack on Mesut Ozil.
The Bayern Munich president, who has been scathing repeatedly about Ozil, said Özil “is a good marketing product whose image is much better than it is as a player” while adding “If Löw had gone to see Arsenal more often and seen him properly, he probably would not have taken him for sporting reasons, it’s a miracle that he is now captain of Arsenal.”
Ozil has been named as one of Unai Emery’s five captains.
Quite what Hoeness’s problem is with Ozil is not clear but that could also be said about the whole of Bayern Munich who have paraded a steady stream of people to criticise Ozil after German’s World Cup humiliation. It’s almost as if they are trying to detract from the fact that a large part of the squad that failed came from their club.
Ozil has taken the majority of blame for Germany’s failures which is beyond unfair, especially considering the performances of many other players – especially those hailing from Munich.
Reinhard Grindel has also admitted he should have done more to protect Mesut Ozil from racist attacks that many Bayern Munich people don’t think are a problem.
Ever since Ozil announced that he would not be playing for the German national team because of what he felt was racism due to his Turkish heritage, we’ve also had to listen to a string of white, single-nationality Bayern Munich Germans tell us all how Ozil doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
Hoeness, who was by far the most over-the-top in his criticism, was at it again at the weekend, accusing Ozil of using racism as a distraction before coming out with his latest comments.
“Ozil has cleverly brought racism into the game to distract attention from the fact that he has not played football well for a long time,” Hoeness told Sky Sports.
“I found it impossible that the DFB president had to get involved to solve the Ozil and Gundogan issue.
“Özil should have been forced to give an explanation, that was no small matter. He is a well-marketed product, who is represented by his agency much better than he is as a player.
“Joachim Low should have gone to Arsenal more often and had a look at him. He probably would not have taken him to the World Cup for sporting reasons, and then we would have been spared the whole drama.”
But the man at the centre of Ozil’s statement, DFB president, Reinhard Grindel, backed Ozil’s accusations of general racism, even if he doesn’t accept Ozil’s accusations that he was a big part of the problem.
“Regarding the racist attacks, I could have taken a clearer position at some points and stood by Mesut Özil,” Grindel told Bild.
“I should have been clear with my words. Such attacks are completely unacceptable. I regret that he felt deserted by the DFB.
“It is important to say though, that I said nothing about his sporting performance after the World Cup. For me, it was obvious that we win together and lose together. To make an individual player responsible for our exit would be absurd.”
Grindel offered further clarification regarding accusations he had blamed Ozil for the team’s poor performances in Russia. “That is not right,” he continued. “I was talking about a different point.
“After the photos with President Erdogan, Ilkay Gündogan clearly and understandably made a statement. I would have liked the same from Özil because I know from conversations with fans that they too had questions on the matter. That must not be misinterpreted as criticism of his sporting performance. I would have liked such an explanation even if we ended up winning the World Cup.”
Grindel also said that this matter was not “about his feelings” but about ensuring the integration work being done by the DFB was not discredited.