Thursday, 16 August, 2018

Mesut Ozil named in Arsenal squad for Singapore tour

Turkey Ex-footballer lawmaker supports Mesut Ozil Iwobi name in Arsenal's 25-man squad for pre-season tour
Eugene Bates | 24 July, 2018, 19:57

Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has given his support to Mesut Ozil and says the "racist attitude" shown towards the player is not acceptable.

The midfielder brought his worldwide career to an abrupt over the weekend, citing what he called "racism and disrespect" for his Turkish roots and claiming he had been made a scapegoat for the team's World Cup failures after a controversial meeting with Turkish leader Erdogan in May.

He added that Ozil's critics "could not stomach" the photograph of the soccer star and Erdogan that prompted criticism ahead of the World Cup.

Former Bayern Munich and Germany midfielder Lothar Matthaus has told ESPN FC that Mesut Ozil will not be missed following his worldwide retirement, adding "his time to play in the national team is over" based on his recent performances.

But Thomas Bareiss, a senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, said it showed "disrespect" and was "misplaced", while German daily Bild said Ozil was "revelling in the victim role that has nothing to do with reality".

The 22-year-old Nigerian was included in the travelling party to Asia despite missing the start of pre-season training due to his participation in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Italy's Il Messaggero reports, Iwobi is attracting a potential deal from Lazio, who are eager to replace Felipe Anderson who recently joined West Ham.

Speaking to reporters at parliament on Tuesday, Erdogan said that Ozil's approach had been "admirable" and that the player had "given his all" for the German national team.

"But for me, it's only important [if] Mesut Ozil can help the national team or not, and I have this feeling in the last one-and-a-half years, he never played on this level how we played before, and now it's time for changes". It said: "We play and live together with our different family roots, our religions and cultures".

Turkish lawmaker and former footballer Alpay Ozalan supported the stance Germany's Mesut Ozil took against racism.

"Whether publicly or not, the player must be protected against messages of discrimination and hatred".

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