Mesut Ozil may deserve criticism – but not for his freedom of speech

The Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil has spent the last few weeks apparently being verbally abused on social media and even a victim of death threats. No political or footballing opinion warrants a human being to have to go through that.

The makes the German’s statement very brave. By effectively turning his back on international football he will know abuse will now carry on throughout the summer and beyond. Really it was a no win situation. Those who will hammer his decision to retire would also have made him a scape goat for every defeat.

That’s what international breaks would have looked like for him. Every miss-pass judged, below par performances blamed on a photo he had with the Turkish president. It only would have ended had he won the European Championship or next World Cup. Haven already won the latter in 2014 and that was not enough to make him a legend, the juice isn’t worth the squeeze.

The reality is the player has been inconsistent for years now but his political views should have nothing to do with that. Even if he didn’t have a Turkish heritage, does that mean his beliefs and opinions have to be the same as every German? What if he doesn’t care about such matters and it was simply a chance to meet a powerful person In a country he cares about? Ozil has never made any secret of his love for Turkey. It’s no irony that this only becomes an issue the moment Germany’s dominance on the sport ends.

I’m not going to pretend I can relate to being dual nationality, it’s a complex issue. Over the years many teams have found loop holes over the rules to get the best talent possible. Let’s call a spade a spade. Ozil from a young age was very open about being as much Turkish as he is German. I bet no one was listening at the time as they saw him as the next big thing, fans didn’t care as long as he delivered.

At under age groups and then the seniors this man was successful. The moment he failed, a time where there are youngsters waiting to take his place, he has been let down.

There’s a lot of things you can attack Ozil for. His freedom of speech shouldn’t be one of them. The irony being that this started with some in Germany not liking the leader of Turkey based on his views on human rights.


Dan Smith


  1. Sue says:

    ‘The player has been inconsistent for years’ what a joke

    1. Big Charley says:

      He has been very good for his country for a very long time, We have been playing averagely in premier league for a while now. Football is a team work. Ozil created more chances in the World Cup than any other player in a single game, check that out Sue!!!

      1. Sue says:

        I am very aware of his stats & how he does. I’m a big Ozil fan. Dan Smith wrote in his article about Ozil being inconsistent for years – to which I replied what a joke!

        1. Billy says:

          Well said Sue, Arsenal have been inconsistent as a whole for a few years. IMO Ozil is our best player,and with quality around him finally, we should see the best of him this season.

          1. Sue says:

            I’m so excited about next season Billy…. we’re all in for a treat!! COYG

          2. OzzieGunner says:


        2. Big Charley says:

          Sorry Sue !!!!! Am on your side then

          1. Sue says:

            That’s ok, not a problem ?

    2. Phil says:

      I just love Mesut Ozil as a footballer.He is without doubt a very gifted and much undervalued player in my opinion and it is to Wengers shame that he never produced the system or bought the players who would allow him to perform to his abilities.Now he has Torreira as an anchor and Mikki plus Laca and Auba to work with the player has now received the pace movement and finishing abilities to show us what he can really do.There is no room for excuses from anyone now.The inconsistency must be addressed and he simply must become our main focus in attack.
      But as a man and a human being Mesut Ozil has now shown a determination and character that many thought he did not have.What exactly had he done wrong?He had his photo taken with the Turkish President.I can recall dozens having their picture taken with Nelson Mandela in the past and this man was a convicted terrorist.Did anyone bring this up and attack their integrity like has happened to Ozil?No. I have just read the Statement from Uli Hoeness from Bayern Munich and this to me is the most slanderous and unwarranted attack on anyone that could have been given.To day what he has said forgets all that this player has produced in a German shirt and is an unforgivable statement from someone connected to a Club side and nothing to do with the national team.
      By now giving up his international career we have a player who can now concentrate on Arsenal Football Club.He deserves our utmost respect and admiration for his decision and our support and encouragement for his actions

      1. Otunba_007 says:

        @ Phil

        How dare you call the great Nelson Mandela a CONVICTED TERRORIST? You can never be half a man that great man was.. He was a freedom fighter who fought against white oppression and apartheid and you dare call him a convicted terrorist? You should be ashamed of your disgusting self

        1. Phil says:

          So he was imprisoned for WHAT?Dropping litter on the pavement?He was a convicted terrorist Pal.Tead your history books.

          1. Otunba_007 says:

            I can see you really need a lecture on this as the story or history you read has clearly mislead you into thinking and saying RUBBISH.. I didn’t read the history but have lived it and met the great man.. meet me up anywhere in Johannesburg for your Mandela’s history lecture any day any time.. ohhh I forgot you have been to South Africa before, you only read the history.. mxm

          2. Otunba_007 says:

            Haven’t ****

          3. OzzieGunner says:

            I strongly suggest that anyone who believes that Nelson Mandela was a terrorist should read his biography (at least in Wikipedia) and know the history/ramifications of apartheid in South Africa, the Sharpeville massacre and the CIA’s involvement in his arrest.
            However he did admit to non life threatening acts of sabotage against the apartheid government.

          4. Phil says:

            Oh yeah -HIS biography.Written by HIM.That should tell all the facts then shouldn’t it

          5. Ovia says:

            bro u r unbelievable!!!!!
            if u are trying to be clever in our argument u failed badly..

      2. john hodges says:

        phil he is also critiseid by a lot of turkish people living in germany.i know this as i also live there.and by the way i am a true english man born and bread ,before you want to slate me like you alwayse do if their not of the same of opinion as you.

        1. Phil says:

          If we are now talking about Mesut Ozil I obviously do not know why Turkish people in Germany criticise him.Bit surely this is NOT for football related issues but of a Political Agenda.
          I still go back to why he has be hung out to dry by the German FA for having his photograph taken with the Turkish President.If there are political reasons WHY ihe should not have done this then please explain.But I’m sure there are plenty of Turkish people living in Hermany who would have reacted if Ozil had his Photograph taken with a German Politician.
          It all goes back to Religion and politics does it not.If not I am happy to be told otherwise.

      3. Impenia says:

        @Phil or whatever you call yourself, you must be a crass idiot for using those words on the great Nelson Mandela.

        1. Phil says:

          Listen you MUG-I have only stated fact.Mandela was convicted for Terrorist Offences.He was imprisoned.Simple fact.In that he is a convicted Terrorist.Read up on his crimes.They are there for all to see.Whether you and your cronies care to admit it the man is a Terrorist.

    3. Ken1945 says:

      Sue you beat me to it.
      Dan why ruin a really excellent summary of Ozils dilemma with such a crass statement.
      Just look at what this man has achieved in his career.
      The only inconsistencies is that fans want him to be something he’s not.
      He is a shy introvert man in my opinion, who just goes about his job of creating chances for others.
      No backward flips when he scores, no rolling over six times when he is fouled..he is what he is….a wonderful visionary footballer…and very consistent at doing just that.

      With regards to the rest of the article, a very good read.

      Unless one has been in the situation that VCC explains below, it is nigh on impossible to imagine the scenario that many people in the world find themselves in.
      Take religion and politics out of the equation and the human race would get along just fine in my humble opinion

      1. Sue says:

        Excellent comment Ken ??

        1. OzzieGunner says:

          Mezut Ozil was politically naive in meeting Erdogen, but the German reaction has been disgraceful in a democratic country. He was far from the worst German player in the two games he played and as has been said before the chances he created should have been buried.

    4. tony says:

      Admit it.ozil is just a shadow of ozil since his 2nd yr of arsenal.he hides behind CMs even behind DMs sonetimes.or stays in the other corner where ball isnt.when i saw him 1st in 2009 he was the heart of all attacks,he was making solo runs in box,was good in RM he completely lost his german attitude playing football.just a sad no10 without any real ambition

    5. Hackinubee says:

      What I don’t understand is that in the picture,there was two players:Ozil and Gundogan.

      Let’s just assume the picture was wrong,why haven’t the media and DFB criticised Gundogan but only focused their failure on Ozil?

  2. Victoria Concordia Crescit says:

    Ozil’s stance that he’d take another photo with Erdogan is pretty clear. He doesn’t look at it as a “mistake”. His reasoning is that he respects the highest office of his parent’s home country. I don’t like Erdogan one bit, but I’m prepared to accept his reasoning. As a foreigner who grew up in Germany not that much unlike Ozil, I can empathize with this internal divide. You feel like a German, but are never ever accepted 100% as one of them even though you speak just as fluently, learn the same things in school, watch the same media etc. Then you have your family that tries to pass a sense of belonging to your parent’s country to you. You learn about it from your parents and family members. You don’t have first hand experience of living there, so it’s skewed. For Ozil, who in the past was hated in Turkey for choosing Germany, to meet Erdogan, it’s an acknowledgement of his Turkishness. I get the idea that it’s nothing about endorsing his policies (which, honestly, is a far reaching conclusion), but respecting his parent’s country and his own Turkish roots.
    Then of course, is the reaction of the press and the asshole racists in the papers, internet, his email and twitter, in the stadium. He gets abused so much, I’m not at all surprised he quit. Why the hell WOULD you play for a country, giving your EVERYTHING to the cause, if you will never be accepted? Even after winning the FCKING WORLD CUP. It doesn’t matter. He’s never had a chance in the first place, as long as Germans were as racist as they’re showing themselves to be.

    1. Sue says:

      What amazes me is he was born in Germany!! All the slimebags & sleazeballs have come out of the woodwork to slate him.. it’s terrible

      1. OzzieGunner says:

        Yes Sue, to those who want Ozil deported, what do they want to do; make a German citizen stateless?

    2. john hodges says:

      what aload of rubbish i am english and live in germany since 1969 and i have been accepted and still am with no problems at all,and it is not all racist as you say,and we have also our racists in england.

      1. Ken1945 says:

        john Hodges, with all due respect, this is not about you is it?
        This is about an individual who has been hung out to dry because the national team needed a scapegoat.
        So they chose Ozil…why?
        It wasn’t because of his performance, because there were many more of pure germanic blood whose performances deserved much more criticism.
        To save criticism of their own mistakes, the German football federation used the racism card in singling out a man who they thought would toe the line as is his demeanor in general.
        If you know anything about the game of football, you have to admit that the German FA, their world cup squad and their supporters have displayed bigotry of the highest order.
        Nothing to do with the German people in general, don’t forget this is a footballing issue.
        Do we have racists in the UK? Of course we do, but that is a different debate to the one being conducted on this site.
        Can you see the difference?

  3. Big Charley says:

    Just check his creative records before you put him to the sword. Statistics don’t lie in advanced countries.

  4. Victoria Concordia Crescit says:

    Yes he’s been … and I think the Bayern chief is right .
    “Whenever [Bayern] played against Arsenal, we played over him because we knew that was their weak point.

    “He last won a tackle before the 2014 World Cup. And now he and his sh*tty performance hide beyond this picture. and to many of you who says his job isn’t to tackle ….? every other number 10 in world football tackles except Özil.

    I like Özil’s personality but as a player, I think he hides too much. you class him as Worldclass, but name 3 important games Ozil has won for us since he’s been here ? as much as I criticise Ramsey, he does this everytime

    1. Ken1945 says:

      VCC, the reason I personally cannot name ANY one game is because that is not his role actually.
      His role is to CREATE THE CHANCES for others to ‘win the games’.
      Why fans want him to be this superhuman player who does everything on the pitch is ridiculous.
      The next thing will be he should save penalties!!
      Ozil is what he is and nothing more/nothing less.
      Emery has seen just what this man can do, as have many managers before him.
      If we are to believe in Emery, then trust his judgement of this exceptional player….if you don’t want to go with that, then just read up on his stats.
      They are FACTS not opinions.

    2. D says:

      ““He last won a tackle before the 2014 World Cup.” And you’re honestly stupid/gullible enough to believe that?

      “Mario Gotze, who plays a similar position, made 15. Ozil and Gotze share an almost identical tackle ratio per 90 minutes of 0.71 and 0.72 respectively.

      In the Premier League, Ozil has managed to win 80 tackles over the last four seasons for Arsenal.

      Comparably, over the same period, Juan Mata won 75 for Manchester United while Philippe Coutinho won 115 at Liverpool and Barcelona.”

      You’re an idiot for believing anything that these disgusting, racist, agenda-driven scum-bags say when it comes to Ozil.

      1. OzzieGunner says:

        D, thanks for your research. ?

  5. Chiza says:

    have seen some people drumming about the fact that Emery has never beaten Mourinho and guardiola..which makes him not a good coach tactically and then losing the ligue1 to Monaco totally made him not a good coach…to those allegations make me laugh and so I’m going to attack them with a few points of mine which would be stated below

    1. 2008–2012
    Valencia…during this period Emery faced the best Barcelona team of all time..even Wenger admitted that beating Barcelona during that period was his best victory ever and arsenal had a better team than Valencia.. But Emery managed to compete in every match against Barcelona with the little resources that he had….he finished 3rd every season behind Barcelona and Real Madrid…he was building a great team with Joaquin, Mata,david Silva, David villa, etc.. But they were sold and it became difficult…Real Madrid on the other hand got Ronaldo during this period…but guess what? those Defeats he never lost so badly unlike Wenger…he lost like a man…..during his years with Seville he still faced the trio of Neymar, Messi and Suarez… They won the treble you remember..not an easy team to beat..even harder when you are the coach of Sevilla..he had his tactics but he never had the players……people blame him for the incredible comeback of Barcelona in the champions league…but forget it was the same coach that brought out the tactics that beat Barcelona(neymar,suarez and Messi) 4-0 in the first leg.. Not so many clubs can do that even if Barcelona are at their lowest point

    2…Losing the title to Monaco……..Emery came into the disarrayed dressing room of psg and felt disrespected at the start…psg players didn’t agree to play to his high pressing methods because they felt they were too big for it..they didn’t want to give their all on the pitch….while still trying to deal with what was going on in PSG he met a Monaco team that were on fire behaving like the Leicester of England.. It was just their year and they showed that in the Champions League…beating man city with the almighty guardiola and reaching the champions league semi final…it was purely Monaco’s year…even guardiola wouldn’t have stopped Monaco from winning that league title…. But Emery came back the next season to stamp his authority and won all the titles except the champions league…even his predecessors never did that at psg..he had to deal with the ego of Neymar.. A player he never wanted at PSG but he had no say

    Let’s give Emery a chance..believe me he is a great coach

    1. Phil says:

      Very well written and highlights the resources he was stripped of by having his best players sold at Valencia.A bit like Arsenal at the time having to sell our best players and still expecting to compete.
      And PSG will continue to be the French equivalent of Chelski.The owners demand Champions League success but that is never a given with the quality of RM Barca and now Juve.And Neymar will continue to demand center stage and play only for himself.
      Emery deserves every chance at Arsenal.Nobody is seriously expecting us to challenge for the Title but a Top 4 finish and a Cup win is the least we should be aiming for.Emery will demand this as he knows only too well how vital Champions League football is to the Club and supporters.

      1. OzzieGunner says:

        Let’s not forget the diabolical officiating against PSG in the return leg against Barcelona.

        1. Phil says:

          Who could ever forget it

  6. Victoria Concordia Crescit says:

    Yes, football is a team work.

    at a time when Manchester United always trounce us (09-03-2015) Welbeck won us a semifinal game against them.

    Carzola ‘s free kick against Hull City ?

    I can’t even begin to count Ramsey contribution in each of the 3 fa cup finals . all these players won us games I can remember .

    all I can remember from Ozil was that solo goal against Ludogorets and losing a penalty against Bayern (a game we would have won )

    I’m not trying to say Ozil and Ramsey are better players (though Ozil hasn’t reached Carzola ‘s level). and even now , I’d rather Mkhityran as our number 10 than Özil . (atleast, he doesn’t hide)

    1. Mobella says:

      You don’t remember his goal against Chelsea. that lovely volley than bounce off the poll into the net or his dink against Liverpool to get us into the lead last season or his assist against Chelsea for Sanchez goal in fa cup or his performance against spud last season at Emirate. If you don’t remember anything of note he did for us my friend you need to see a doctor.

      1. Sue says:

        His goal against Bayern! There’s plenty to look at and tons of assists too ?

        1. Big Charley says:

          We don’t play better football without him, Ramsey’s passes are usually too short or too long, he give Ramsey the freedom he enjoys whenever they play together. If England had someone like him who can make passes through a defence I think we would have done better. All players don’t perform in every single game but Ozil’s statistic is something to be proud of as a player

          1. Ken1945 says:

            Big Charley and here’s the problem we Gooners seem to have.
            Why compare Ozil to anyone?
            Ozil does what Ozil does…. he’s not any other player, just Ozil…pure and simple.
            Same goes for Ramsey or Xhaka, in fact any other Human being.
            Once we start comparing out own players, all of whom have different roles and technical skills, we are on a slippery slope.
            Your so right about stats, they are FACTS, not an opinion and that’s where Ozil proves his worth.

  7. kev says:

    Aaron Ramsey’s future will become clearer this week or early next week but all signs point to him signing within the week.He has already agreed the deal which means the offer is good to him.
    Will be the second highest earner at the club and be offered the captaincy.

    1. Tatgooner says:

      any truth to kingsley coman

    2. Sue says:

      He’s gone to Singapore so surely that’s a sign that he’s staying!

    3. Mobella says:

      I thought Emery said Kos is the number captain/leader he has come to know in arsenal and that he will prefer to have 6 captains/leaders at a time on the pitch.

    4. Sparkles says:

      We have heard. You have said this countless times.

  8. LENOhappy says:

    @sparkles lol

  9. Badenglish says:

    Uli Hoeneß:
    Whenever [Bayern] played against Arsenal, we played over him because we knew that was their weak point.

    “His 35 million follower boys – that don’t exist in real world – are convinced he has played sublimely when he completes a cross pass.

    “The development in our country is a catastrophe. You have to go back to what it is: sport. And from a sporting point of view, Ozil has no place in the national team for years.”

  10. perfect says:

    kev what are the news regarding Coman

  11. D says:

    “The reality is the player has been inconsistent for years” Is having the best assist and chances created stats in the whole of Europe “inconsistent”?

    1. OzzieGunner says:


  12. iffybright says:

    At last, the truth has come out…
    Ozil is the weakest link in Arsenal, also the weakest player in Arsenal….
    He is easily beaten, doesn’t jump to context ball in the air…..
    He and Ramsey do easily looses possession of the ball on regular basis……

    Thank you Bayern Munich president….
    All this Ozil fanboys needs a reality check….

    I believe Emery won’t give him soft hands unlike Wenger

  13. iffybright says:

    You guys should look at David Silva.. He is doing everything been expected from a Central midfield player……even at 33years….
    Coutinho is doing everything too….
    What is wrong with all this Ozil fanboys….. Even Zidane in his playing days presses and tackles, as skillful as Jay Jay Okocha is, he tackles and fight to win the ball….
    Even Messi presses…..
    What is the problem with all this Ozil fanboys…..
    I can’t stand Ozil been my teammate on the field of play….
    We will always fight…
    I don’t like loosing possession of the ball, if that happens, we all must press and win the ball back just like Barcelona….
    I don’t tolerate laziness on the field of play….
    You all can see that Ozil has no Market demand…
    is a Luxury player….
    No World class team can accommodate a luxury player…

    1. Ken1945 says:

      Except of course the WORLD CHAMPIONS just four years ago .Germany.
      How many times has this ‘luxury player’ won player of the year?
      Please do your homework before quoting other players.
      Every single player you mentioned is/had playing in a team with world class players.
      Let’s see what Ozil will do this season with our new signings shall we?

  14. Tojo bolton says:

    Big respects for Ozil today, standing up for what he believed in. I personally don’t think he’s done anything wrong.

    At the same time he frustrated me massively this season and from footballing reasons I can see why some maybe on his case.

    However his attitude towards the new changes at Arsenal are fantastic, big kudos for coming back to the club early for the pre season tour to get stuck in with the new team and coach and focus on arsenal.

    I predict a big season from this man, HUGE!

  15. Joe14 says:

    Just saw some guy call Mandela a terrorist, some comments really are uncalled for.

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