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Mesut Ozil’s retirement: a case of Identity and inclusivity

Ozil represented Germany in 3 World Cups and 2 Euro Cups, playing 92 matches, scoring 23 goals and assisting 40 goals for the nation he holds citizenship of.


Devdiscourse News Desk Sajan Dewan Last Updated at 29 Jul 2018, 06:07 IST Germany, Turkey
Mesut Ozil’s retirement: a case of Identity and inclusivity
  • Mesut Ozil explained his meeting and photo with president Recep Tayyip Erdogan as showing respect to the president of the country of his origin. (Image Credit: Twitter)

"I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose," Ozil said in his retirement statement.

German International footballer Mesut Ozil retired from the International football citing racism and disrespect he faced from DFB (German Football Association).

Ozil's grandparents immigrated to Germany in the 1970s like other 3 million Turkish living in Germany. Mesut Ozil was born and grown up in Gelsenkirchen in western Germany and started playing senior football for German club Schalke 04. In 2009, he was selected in the senior German national team and since then he was a central player for Germany.

Ozil represented Germany in 3 World Cups and 2 Euro Cups, playing 92 matches, scoring 23 goals and assisting 40 goals for the nation he holds citizenship of.

He has been the key player in Germany's World Cup victory in Brazil in 2014. He has been felicitated as the German Player of the year for five times since 2011.

After the shocking group stage exit forms the World Cup in Russia, the German team was heavily criticised for their poor performance.

While Mesut Ozil was singled out and was bashed by the German media for his poor performance and the picture he took with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May also became the subject of criticism.

Turkey Prez Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being criticised for human rights violations in Turkey by human rights organizations.

The German government has its own ongoing differences with Erdogan, as Germany has previously criticised the Turkish leader's crackdown on political dissent following a failed coup.

German politicians questioned Mesut Ozil's loyalty to German democratic values after his picture with Erdogan.

In his statement explaining his photo with Erdogan, Ozil said, "I have two hearts one is German and one is Turkish."

He further added, "During my childhood, my mother taught me to always be respectful and to never forget where I came from, and these are still values that I think about to this day."

Mesut Ozil explained his meeting and photo with president Recep Tayyip Erdogan as showing respect to the president of the country of his origin.

Ozil's retirement from International football is not only a case of racism, it has bigger picture altogether. Immigration, Identity, and inclusivity are the words which can be associated with this case.

Even after being a member of the world cup winning team, Ozil was singled out for his sense of Turkish belonging. Ozil's incident shows the failure of the inclusive culture in Europe.

While, France celebrated its World Cup triumph as a victory for secularism and multiculturalism, where 15 players out of 23 men squad were from different national origin played for France.

Meanwhile, South African comedian Trevor Noah mocked France's victory as a victory of the African continent.

The multicultural world of football ironically known as beautiful game has been threatened again and again by the conservative views and ideas of identity.

Mesut Ozil's incident raise few important questions about the future of the ongoing influx of immigrants in European countries. Will Europeans ever accept the immigrants as part of their country? Or Immigrants will always be treated as aliens in the country they seek refuge?

Germany has lost a world class midfielder in the whole identity controversy, who had a lot of football left in him. Mesut Ozil, concluding his retirement statement said, "I used to wear the German shirt with such pride and excitement but now I don't."


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