Özil walks away from Germany team citing ‘racism and disrespect’
Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil has quit international football, citing the "racism and disrespect" he has faced in Germany over his Turkish roots.
The football player was criticised after being photographed with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May.
According to Ozil, he received hate mail and threats and was being blamed for Germany's disappointing World Cup.
"I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose," Ozil said.
The third-generation Turkish-German was born in Gelsenkirchen and was a key member of his country's 2014 World Cup-winning side. He has 92 caps and has been voted the national team's player of the year five times since 2011 by fans.
In a statement posted on social media, Ozil said he did not feel accepted in German society despite paying taxes, donating to good causes there, and being a World Cup winner.
"It is with a heavy heart and after much consideration that because of recent events, I will no longer be playing for Germany at international level while I have this feeling of racism and disrespect," the player said.
"I used to wear the German shirt with such pride and excitement, but now I don't. I feel unwanted and think that what I have achieved since my international debut in 2009 has been forgotten," BBC cited him as saying.