‘Offended’ Ozil should have quit Germany, father says

German-Turkish footballer Mesut Ozil should have retired from international football due to the criticism he received for meeting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan before the World Cup, his father said.

Ozil’s dad, Mustafa, said his son has been made a scapegoat following Germany’s exit at the group stage, in which they finished last after a defeat at the hands of South Korea. Ozil, who played in a key central midfield role, went missing at times in the games, raising further questions about his commitment

"It’s always said that if we win, we win together, but if we lose, we lose because of Ozil,” he said, according to football news website, goal.com. “He’s booed and put up as a scapegoat – I completely understand that he is offended. Mesut’s been an example for years.

Ozil’s photo op with Erdogan, the controversial political leader who is accused of turning Turkey into an authoritarian state, prompted widespread criticism among football fans and officials in Germany. Unlike fellow teammate Ilkay Gundogan, who reaffirmed his commitment to Germany following the incident, Ozil, who plays for fading former English Premier League champions Arsenal, has kept silent.

“If I were in his place, I would say: ‘Thank you, but that’s enough,’” the 50-year-old told Bild am Sonntag.

"He’s bent, disappointed and offended, yes, offended, his own fans booed him before the World Cup at the international in Austria and he cannot understand why,” Mestafa Ozil said. “He doesn’t always have to defend himself. He’s played in the national team for nine years … and became a world champion."