Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil has revealed he has no regrets over his decision to quit the German national team.
Ozil decided to hang his boots after last summer's World Cup where Germany left the competition in group stages. Joachim Low's men had a terrible performance, finishing at the bottom of Group F with three points after losing to both Mexico and South Korea. This saw big names like Thomas Muller, Mats Hummels, and Jerome Boateng deemed too old for the Die Mannschaft as they looked to integrate their next crop of talented youngsters.
Ozil also decided to retire from international football after he was racially abused following a photo of him and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ahead of the World Cup. And Ozil says he has no regrets after retiring.
"With time to reflect, I know it was the right decision. It was a very difficult period for me as I played nine years for Germany and was one of their most successful players. I won the World Cup and more, played a lot of games — a lot of them really good — and gave everything," he told the Athletic.
"I don’t say people must love me but just show respect about what I’ve done for Germany. The team was always competitive but they wanted to play a more attractive style, all age groups using the ball better. A bit like Spain. My generation changed German football. It became more fun to watch."
"But after the photo, I felt disrespected and unprotected. I was receiving racist abuse — even from politicians and public figures — yet nobody from the national team came out at that time and said, ‘Hey, stop. This is our player, you can’t insult him like that’. Everyone just kept quiet and let it happen.
"It felt like I was expected to apologize for the meeting, admit I’d made a mistake and then everything would be fine; otherwise I was not welcome in the team and should leave. I would never do that. Racism has always been there, but people used this situation as an excuse to let it out."
"They are free to have a personal view, to dislike a photo I’ve taken. Just as I’m free to make a personal decision to have the photo taken. But what followed exposed their racism for everyone to see."
The former Real Madrid ace has been linked with an exit from Arsenal but he revealed he will see his current deal at the club.