Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness has ripped into Mesut Ozil after the Arsenal playmaker announced his retirement from the German national team.
Ozil released a lengthy three-part statement on 22 July in which he spoke of the racism and disrespect he has received as a result of his meeting with Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan shortly before the World Cup.
The 29-year-old says he was simply respecting his Turkish heritage and his decision to pose for a photo with Erdogan ‘had no political intentions’.
But Ozil says the reaction – which including his family receiving hate mail and threatening phone calls – and the ‘belittling’ attitude of DFB (the German football federation) president Reinhard Grindel have made him feel like he no longer wants to play for Germany.
Rather than sympathise with Ozil, Bayern president Hoeness launched an astonishing rant in which he suggested the Arsenal star was using the Erdogan controversy as an excuse for poor performances.
Speaking to SportBild at the airport as Bayern jetted off to Philadelphia for pre-season, Hoeness said: ‘Ozil has been playing s*** for years. He won his last tackle before the 2014 World Cup.
‘All he is doing on the field is playing cross passes. Now he hides himself and his crap performance behind this photo.’
Hoeness also suggested that Bayern have always targeted Ozil when they have faced off against Arsenal in Europe, adding: ‘Whenever we played against Arsenal, we played over him, because we knew he was the weak point.’
Ozil, who made his international debut for Germany in 2009, has been capped 92 times by his country – scoring 23 times – and played a key role in winning the World Cup four years ago.
While Ozil was in Brazil lifting the World Cup, Hoeness was beginning a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence for tax evasion, though was re-elected as Bayern president a few months after his early release at the end of 2016.
Photo Credit: Granada