Uli Hoeness blasts Mesut Ozil for Erdogan picture and quitting Germany: ‘he last won a tackle before the 2014 World Cup’
Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness slams Mesut Ozil after Arsenal star quits Germany team over controversial photo with Turkish president Erdogan
Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness has launched a withering attack on Mesut Ozil after the forward’s decision to quit the German national team.
Ozil made the decision in protest at what he feels was racism in some of the criticism he received from Germany officials, fans and media over him posing for a controversial photograph with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan before the World Cup.
The 29-year-old was born in Germany but has Turkish roots, saying in an explosive four-page statement posted on social media that “I have two hearts, one German and one Turkish” and that “racism should never, ever be accepted”.
But Hoeness feels Arsenal star Ozil should have been dropped from the Germany team years ago.
“He had been playing s*** for years,” Hoeness told German daily newspaper Bild. “He last won a tackle before the 2014 World Cup, and now he and his s**** performance hide behind this picture.
“Whenever Bayern played against Arsenal, we played over him because we knew that was their weak point,” added the 66-year-old Hoeness, who won the World Cup with Germany in 1974.
“His 35 million followers [on social media] – 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.”
Ozil played 92 times for Germany, scoring 23 goals, and was part of the side that won the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The defending champions suffered a shock group-stage exit in Russia last month, however, following defeats by Mexico and South Korea.
Ozil, who also starred in the Germany team that won the European Under-21 Championship in 2009, was booed by his own supporters during pre-World Cup friendlies, after meeting with Erdogan in London in May.
“I used to wear the German shirt with such pride and excitement, but now I don’t. This decision has been extremely difficult to make because I have always given everything for my teammates, the coaching staff and the good people of Germany,” Ozil said in his statement, in which he also blamed the German Football Federation (DFB) for failing to stand up for him, and singled out DFB President Richard Grindel.
“I will no longer stand for being a scapegoat for his [Grindel’s] incompetence and inability to do his job properly,” Ozil said.
“In the eyes of Grindel and his supporters, I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose.”
Ozil added: “If a newspaper or pundit finds fault in a game I play in, then I can accept this. But what I can’t accept are German media outlets repeatedly blaming my dual-heritage and a simple picture for a bad World Cup on behalf of an entire squad.
“This crosses a personal line that should never be crossed, as newspapers try to turn the nation of Germany against me.”
Turkish ministers have hailed Ozil’s decision to quit the Germany team.
“I congratulate Mesut Ozil who by leaving the national team has scored the most beautiful goal against the virus of fascism,” Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul wrote on Twitter.
“We sincerely support the honourable stance that our brother Mesut Ozil has taken,” Turkey’s Sports Minister Mehmet Kasapoglu said.
Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said that Ozil having to defend himself for posing for a picture with Erdogan was “a pity for those who claim to be tolerant and multiculturalist”.