Despite quitting the German national team in acrimonious circumstances, Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil has pledged his support for the team.
“I’ve always been supporting the DFB Team since my childhood and I’ve still many friends playing for the German national team,” Ozil said in a Twitter Q&A session on the eve of Arsenal’s Europa League clash with Sporting Lisbon.
“Of course I’m still supporting the team!”
Ozil was a key member of the Germany side that won the 2014 World Cup.
However, the midfielder who was capped 92-times retired from international football following Germany’s humiliating exit from the World Cup finals in Russia last summer, citing “disrespect and racism” within the German football federation.
Ozil, born in Germany to Turkish parents, had been targeted with xenophobic comments and singled out for criticism by angry fans.
Months earlier the 30-year-old had caused controversy when he and Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, who is also of Turkish descent, were pictured alongside Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan months before the finals.
At the time, Turkey were contesting the hosting of the Euro 2024 finals with Germany — a race Germany eventually won.