Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil says he no longer wants to play international football for Germany.
In a lengthy statement posted on social media, the 29-year-old said the treatment he had received from the German Football Association (DFB) has made him “no longer want to wear the German national team shirt”. He also said he did not feel accepted in the German society despite paying taxes, donating to good causes there, and being a World Cup winner.
“I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose,” Ozil said.
German football chiefs have yet to respond to Ozil’s claims.
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.
He also claimed he was being blamed for Germany’s disappointing World Cup.
Germany’s football association, the DFB, was among those to criticise Ozil after he had his photograph taken with Erdogan.
“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.”
In May, Ozil was criticized after being photographed with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a London event.
Ozil attended the event with fellow Germany international Ilkay Gundogan. Both Ozil and Manchester City’s Gundogan are of Turkish descent.
Ozil says he and Gundogan talked about football with the president.
Afterwards, photographs were released by Turkey’s governing AK Party in the build-up to elections in the country, which Erdogan won outright.
Many German politicians questioned Ozil and Gundogan’s loyalty to German democratic values.
Germany has previously criticised the Turkish leader’s crackdown on political dissent following a failed coup.
Ozil said he would have been “disrespecting his ancestors’ roots” had he not posed for photographs with the Turkish president.
He added that he and his family had received hate mail, threatening phone calls and comments on social media.