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Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil has said he remains a fan of Germany despite walking away from international football.
Ozil has yet to talk publicly about his decision to stop playing for Germany after the World Cup, citing “racism and disrespect” as his main reasons after being heavily criticised for posing for a photo with Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan ahead of the tournament.
But during a Twitter Q and A, he said he won’t stop supporting the team even though he’s no longer playing for them.
“I’ve always been supporting the DFB Team since my childhood and I’ve still many friends playing for the German National Team. Of course I’m still supporting the team!” Ozil wrote.
Ozil and Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan, who are both German with Turkish roots, were photographed with Erdogan during a reception in London in May, sparking backlash in Germany that engulfed the national team and overshadowed their exit from the World Cup in the group stage in June. Gundogan has decided to keep playing for Germany, but backed up Ozil’s claims of racism.
I’ve always been supporting the DFB Team since my childhood and I’ve still many friends playing for the German National Team. Of course I’m still supporting the team!Thomas_rosEKY@ekene348
I know this is a quite a sensitive issue for you but do you still support the @DFB_Team_EN especially giving the circumstances surrounding your international retirement? #AskMesut
Ozil signed a new long-term deal with Arsenal in January but also said he wouldn’t rule out playing in Turkey later in his career.
“Never say never!” he wrote.
In other responses, Ozil also singled out 19-year-old midfielder Matteo Guendouzi as the top young talent at Arsenal and thanked former manager Arsene Wenger for his support, saying he hopes the Frenchman gets a new job soon.
“He always protected and supported me the best way he could,” Ozil wrote. “I’m very thankful he was my coach. Would love to see him as a club manager again.”