Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil has quit playing for the Germany national team citing “racism and disrespect” from his fellow countrymen.
The former Real Madrid midfielder was highly scapegoated following Germany’s early World Cup exit in Russia.
"I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose," Ozil, a Turkish-German born noted.
The 29-year-old has been under persist criticism in the Germany media and on social media after taking a photograph with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan at an event in London back in May.
Ozil has 92 caps with the national, and over the years, he has won the “player of the year” accolade five times since 2011 and was a key member of German’s 2014 World Cup winning squad in Brazil.
He, however, says that following recent criticism, he will "no longer want to wear the German national team shirt".
In a detailed statement posted to his social media platforms, Ozil says that German’s football association, the DFB, is among the many that criticized his photo with President Erdogan. He also adds that despite being a good taxpayer and donating to good causes among other things, he still isn’t accepted in the German society.
"It is with a heavy heart and after much consideration that because of recent events, I will no longer be playing for Germany at international level while I have this feeling of racism and disrespect," the player said.
"I used to wear the German shirt with such pride and excitement, but now I don't. I feel unwanted and think that what I have achieved since my international debut in 2009 has been forgotten."