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.