Özil doesn’t identify with German team, may quit after World Cup - Matthaus

Turkish origin footballer Mesut Ozil may throw in the towel on the German national team which he doesn’t feel passionately about and retire from international football following the World Cup,  according to former star Lothar Matthaus, Goal website reported.

The Arsenal star was the subject of criticism following the Germany’s World Cup campaign which began with a 1-0 defeat against Mexico.

"I often have the feeling that Ozil does not feel comfortable in the Germany jersey, that he is not free, almost as if he does not want to play at all," Matthaus wrote German Bild newspaper. "There is no heart, no joy, no passion.’’

The 1990 World Cup winner even went as far as to say that for a year or two, Ozil has been much weaker and at a level that does not justify the ‘’free ticket’’ German coach Joachim Low gives him.

Ozil along with fellow Turkish-origin German national player Ilkay Gundogan were at the center of controversy before the tournament for having appeared in a picture alongside Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The shot created outrage in Germany with the pair being addressed by German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier on the matter.

Matthaus believes the Arsenal star does not realise how provocative their photography was.

"Ozil did not understand why there are such great discussions in Germany about him. He is unaware of what the people in Germany expect from a national player, and that it would have been right, after the mistake of the Erdogan photo, to show commitment to Germany and to open up to the fans."

"I don't care about Mesut Ozil's attitude towards the team and the fans or that he does not sing along with our national anthem. But I cannot understand why he does not consider it necessary to acknowledge the fans and clap briefly,’’ Matthaus said.

‘’I feel he does not identify with this one. He gives the impression that he is in his own world and not part of this team."

Matthaus did more than just hit out at Ozil after their disappointing start to the World Cup, saying they lacked all the strengths of a typical German team.

Speaking to German performance at the World Cup, he said, ‘’Our virtues were not there. Everything a German team has always been was non-existent.’’

The former champion went on to accuse Ozil, Sami Khedira and Thomas Muller of  ‘’abandoning’’ the German coach.