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Ivan Gazidis received a round of applause from Arsenal’s squad for delivering an impromptu speech in support of Mesut Ozil’s decision to walk away from Germany’s national team. Ozil took the decision to retire from international football following the negative reaction he received in Germany for meeting Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan before the World Cup.
The Arsenal midfielder believed he had been the subject of a racist attack due to his Turkish heritage and revealed that he and his family had received hate mail and threatening phone calls after he posed for a photo alongside Erdogan. Ozil has been criticised for his decision by several high-profile figures in Germany, including Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness who claimed that the 29-year-old ‘has been playing s*** for years’.
But Arsenal have stuck by their midfielder and their chief executive Gazidis had a special message for the player during their recent trip to Singapore. According to Football London, Arsenal’s players and staff were at a team BBQ when Gazidis stood up and praised Ozil’s stance to walk away from his national team. The report claims that during his impromptu speech, Gazidis said that Arsenal ‘would always be leading light for diversity and inclusion’. Gazidis was also given a round of applause by Arsenal’s players after he had spoken.
Ozil is currently preparing with Arsenal’s squad for their new season, and Unai Emery has backed the midfielder to make a significant contribution. ‘He has experience, he has quality and he has a great mentality and we are going to help him feel good and to show his quality with us,’ the Arsenal manager said last month. ‘I am sure he is going to have a big season with us.’