Mesut Özil’s shock retirement from international football caught Germany head coach Joachim Löw by surprise, it emerged on Tuesday.
Mr. Löw was on holiday in Sardinia when news of Mr. Özil’s retirement broke on Sunday and he only found out when the Arsenal midfielder posted statements on Twitter and Instagram.
“Neither the national coach nor I were informed in advance,” Mr. Löw’s agent Harun Arslan confirmed to German daily
Mr. Özil, 29, dropped a bombshell by announcing his retirement from Germany duty and accused the president of the German FA, Reinhard Grindel, of racism.
“In the eyes of Grindel and his supporters, I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose,” Mr. Özil wrote in his lengthy farewell statement.
Mr. Özil, a 2014 World Cup winner, was born in Gelsenkirchen but has strong Turkish roots. The German Football Association (DFB) on Monday refuted Mr. Özil’s allegations of racism, but the fiasco has damaged the governing body’s reputation in football-mad Germany. A survey of 5,000 Germans by t-online.de showed 49.7% think Mr. Grindel should resign over the saga.
Mr. Özil says he is quitting over the furore caused by his meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the eve of the World Cup as Mr. Grindel failed to back him amid the criticism.
The Arsenal midfielder is walking away after nine years as one of Mr. Löw’s most trusted players.
The news that he had no warning is surprising as Mr. Arslan has a cooperation agreement with Mr. Özil’s adviser Erkut Sogut, who only warned the DFB that a statement would be released on Sunday.
After 23 goals and 40 assists in 92 appearances for Germany, the loss of Mr. Özil is a blow to Mr. Löw, who deployed the Arsenal midfielder as his main playmaker.
With Mr. Özil gone, Mr. Löw will have to find his replacement with Paris Saint Germain’s Julian Draxler or Borussia Dortmund star Marco Reus as the leading candidates.
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