Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil insists he still supports the German national team despite retiring from international football after their disastrous World Cup defence in Russia.
The 30-year-old was criticised in Germany prior to the World Cup when he and Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, who are both of Turkish descent, were pictured alongside Turkey’s controversial president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
And after the 2014 winners crashed out in the group stage at this year’s tournament, Ozil announced his retirement and hit out at the “racism and disrespect” he felt he had faced.
In July, he wrote on Twitter: “The treatment I have received from the DFB and many others makes me no longer want to wear the German national team shirt.
“I feel unwanted and think that what I have achieved since my international debut in 2009 has been forgotten.
“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.”
However, Ozil hosted a question-and-answer session on his Twitter account on Wednesday evening ahead of Arsenal’s Europa League clash at Sporting Lisbon and said he does not hold any grudges against the country he represented 92 times.
He said: “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!”
The former Real Madrid man also discussed the possibility of a move to Turkey later in his career and praised the support former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger gave to him during their time together at the club.