Mesut Ozil’s agent has finally spoken out against the criticism his player received in the wake of his international retirement, specifically calling out Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer and Toni Kroos.
Ozil announced he would be retiring from the Germany national side following their abysmal World Cup campaign and cited ‘racism and disrespect’ as his reasoning.
Some of his former national teammates criticised both the decision and statement but his agent Erkut Sogut has labelled Neuer, Muller and Kroos as ‘naive or scheming’,
Sogut, speaking to German magazine 11Freuende, said: ‘Neuer indirectly accused Mesut of not having worn the German jersey with pride. This is unacceptable.
‘Muller did not understand the whole discussion. And Kroos, as a seasoned national team player, should explain what he means by “nonsense”.’
The agent went on to add that the remarks by the trio were ‘more than disappointing – and also out of place. There are only two explanations: they are either naive or scheming.’
It is the first time Ozil’s agent has come out publicly on the matter since the photo with the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, back in May.
The Arsenal playmaker found himself and Ilkay Gundogan embroiled in controversy in Germany following the photo with Erdogan, with the pair subsequently booed.
After their early World Cup exit, Ozil released a statement over 2000 words where he announced his retirement from international football and accused the German Football Association of racism due to his Turkish roots and failing to support him.
While there was support for Ozil’s statement in some quarters, a number in Germany hit out at it and Neuer, Muller and Kroos were among them.
Kroos told newspaper Bild: ‘Basically Mesut is a deserved international and as a player he deserved a better departure. But the way he resigned was not in order.’
‘The parts in his statement that are rightly addressed are unfortunately overshadowed by the significantly higher amount of nonsense,’ Kroos said. ‘I think he knows very well that racism within the national team and the DFB does not exist.’
Bayern Munich forward Muller added his two cents, saying: ‘The whole issue never was as big as it was made out to be’. He also claimed racism in the squad was ‘absolutely out of the question’.
Other players and manager Low agreed that there was no racism within the team, although Ozil had pinpointed the football association and wider society rather than his teammates.
Sogut added: ‘Low defends himself against an accusation that has never actually been made: Mesut has not been racially abused from within the team but from the midst of German society. The German football association should have been more protective in this case.
And his agent has defended Ozil’s photo with Erdogan, reiterating that it was a matter of respect and adding that there was no discussion with him about whether to meet the president or not.
‘Mesut did not make any mistakes. It is just a matter of respect and courtesy to agree to meet the president of Turkey when he requests it. The two of them have met regularly over the past eight years. It has never been a problem before for the German public.
‘Should we tell Mesut: “You cannot meet with the president – but maybe in two months’ time”? That really does not make any sense.
‘Why should I [stop him meeting the president]? Mesut is old enough, he knows what he is doing. And he has known the president far longer than he knows me.’