Attacking midfielder Mesut Ozil has retired from international football, citing the racism he has suffered as a contributing factor.
Ozil represented Germany at the 2010, 2014 and 2018 World Cups, starting in the winning 2014 World Cup Final.
“I will no longer be playing for Germany at international level whilst I have this feeling of racism and disrespect,” the Arsenal player said via a statement on Twitter.
Ozil is German born to two Turkish parents and was heavily criticised for his photo with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, prior to the recent World Cup, where reigning champions Germany crashed out in the group stage.
“The picture we took had no political intensions,” Ozil said.
Ozil also took aim at German Football President Reinhard Grindel, saying “in the eyes of Grindel and his supporters, I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose.”