Bayern Munich chief Uli Hoeness has accused Mesut Ozil of “hiding” behind his controversial photo with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan when retiring from international football, rather than accepting that “he’s been playing crap for years.”
The Arsenal playmaker said he was stepping away from Germany duty due to the “racism and disrespect” he faced while representing the team.
“I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose,” Ozil, whose parents are originally from Turkey, said.
Related: Ozil retires from Germany duty, citing ‘racism and disrespect’
Hoeness, however, told Bild – with translation from ESPN’s Mark Lovell – that he believes citing discrimination was merely a tool used by Ozil to disguise his poor performances for Germany.
“I’m glad this nightmare is over,” Hoeness said. “He’s been playing crap for years.
“The last tackle he won was before the 2014 World Cup. And now he is hiding himself and his poor performances behind this photo.”
“His 35 million followers, that of course do not actually exist in the real world, ensure that Ozil has played exceptionally when he successfully finds his man with a square ball.”
In each of its last three European meetings with Arsenal, Bayern has won 5-1. Hoeness disclosed the Bavarians gameplan in those clashes: “When we faced Arsenal, we always played through (Ozil) because we knew that he is the weak link.”
(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)
Ozil, 29, won the 2009 Under-21 European Championship alongside Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, and many others who went on to forge the spine of Joachim Low’s Germany side. He started all seven matches as Germany triumphed at the 2014 World Cup and collected 92 caps overall.
The creative midfielder isn’t a stranger to criticism. Ozil has regularly been slammed for his form at Arsenal, with people accusing him of being lazy or simply shirking the dirty work. However, a range of reports suggest he returned to his club early this summer after hearing about new manager Unai Emery’s training sessions.
Hoeness, meanwhile, is stewing over Germany’s catastrophic group-stage exit at the 2018 World Cup – Die Mannschaft finished bottom of a quartet featuring Sweden, Mexico, and South Korea – and is calling for a severe shake-up to maintain the team’s competitiveness.
“The development in our country is a catastrophe,” he said. “We should break it down again to what it is – sport and on a sporting level, Ozil hasn’t added anything to the national team for years. When was his last good international?”