Ilkay Gundogan speaks his mind on Mesut Ozil quitting the Germany national team


It's been just over a month since Mesut Ozil made the shock announcement that he's retiring from the Germany national team due to racism.

And yet some of his former international teammates are only just reacting to his decision, which was made all because of a photo taken back in May.

Ozil and Ilkay Gundogan were both slammed by German politicians and Germany football president Reinhard Grindel for posing for a picture with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Germany's poor performances at the World Cup only added fuel to the flames, with Ozil once again made a scapegoat and told to issue a public statement by Grindel.

In response, Ozil retired from international football and blamed the decision on feeling racially victimised: "I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose."

Slowly but surely more and more Germany players are coming forward, although Manuel Neuer and Toni Kroos both seemed to disagree with Ozil.

Gundogan, who was also in the photo with Erdogan, has now reacted to Ozil quitting Germany and he deserves the utmost respect for what he said.


Speaking to German outlet WAZ, Gundogan said that even though he would have dealt with the situation differently he respects Ozil and thinks he deserved a better send off.

He also reinforced Ozil's point that racism exists within Germany by attacking the politicians that labelled them "goat f*****s".

"Although there were no thoughts of retirement, there were doubts after the case with the photos if it could ever be the same again," said the Manchester City midfielder.

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"If you are so attacked by many, booed by your own fans and insulted by a German politician, then you worry.

"I think Mesut's resignation is a pity. He did a lot for German football. It's a loss for the team. Mesut has also done a lot for me personally.

"He was one of the reasons why I wanted to play for Germany. He has paved the way for me. I would have wished that he would get a better, deserved goodbye.

"However, one has to say that it was Mesut's decision to go that way - with all the consequences. I would have done it differently - because I have a different personality.

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"Tell me, is is not racism when a German politician writes: 'The German national football team: 25 Germans and two goat f*****s'?

"That's something you have to call racism. Nevertheless, that does not mean that all people in Germany are racists - not at all. Almost all my life I have had good experiences in Germany.

"I want to say that very clearly here, but there are people who have politically used the resulting photo for themselves. And in this context, the line into racism was partially crossed."

Gundogan has spoken his mind and Ozil will no doubt appreciate the support after Neuer and Kroos dismissed his cries of racism.

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