Mesut Ozil: Response in Germany – criticism from some, sympathy from others
Ehrenfeld is part of Cologne, Germany, famend for its multi-cultural group. Senol, working behind the until at one newsagents by the practice station, represents simply that.
About half a century in the past, his household uprooted from Turkey and got here to Germany as visitor staff after a labour scarcity. Some 60 miles up the street in Gelsenkirchen, the grandparents of Mesut Ozil did the identical.
Senol, a former bodyguard, says he loves interacting with individuals and fortunately banters along with his prospects. “You certain you need the toxic ones?” he says wryly to at least one who desires a pack of cigarettes.
Out the entrance stand the day by day newspapers, not simply from Germany however from Turkey too. On the entrance of just about all of them on Monday was a headline about Ozil. Within the view of Senol and the locals he chats to, it isn’t Ozil’s fault.
Why is it such an enormous deal?
A 3-part assertion from the Arsenal midfielder on Sunday ended with him saying: “I’ll now not be enjoying for Germany at worldwide stage while I’ve this sense of racism and disrespect.”
A World Cup winner in 2014, capped 92 instances by his nation, he’s essentially the most influential German participant at current.
That comes from being of German-Turkish descent, together with having performed in Spain and England. Mix his followers on Twitter, Instagram and Fb and also you get a determine of 72 million.
For the Germany workforce itself, he had been an vital common. Earlier than being dropped towards Sweden for the second sport of the World Cup in Russia, he had began each sport at a serious competitors because the 2010 World Cup, his debut on the aggressive international stage.
The controversy round him dates again to Could, a day earlier than Germany’s World Cup squad was introduced. Ozil, together with Manchester Metropolis midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, was photographed with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
That was dimly seen in Germany, with Erdogan approaching one other election and seen by many within the nation as a dictator. Solely in February, as an illustration, was German journalist Deniz Yucel released having been detained for a yr, accused of spreading propaganda.
“Each [Ozil and Gundogan] have made a mistake however we additionally should hold this in perspective,” mentioned German FA president Reinhard Grindel earlier than the World Cup.
When Ozil didn’t seem on the nationwide workforce’s media day, he added: “If he does not wish to reply in any interviews, then maybe he’ll achieve this on the pitch.”
Crew supervisor Oliver Bierhoff maintained earlier than the match that the difficulty had been handled, however whistles from the crowd at Germany’s remaining warm-up sport in Leverkusen urged in any other case.
Then got here the workforce’s worst World Cup in 80 years, with Ozil – amongst others – scapegoated by politicians from the nation’s far proper, eager to make political capital from a soccer failure.
The response in Germany
After Germany’s exit, Gundogan’s bit-part function in Russia stored him largely out of the firing line however Grindel and former Germany striker Bierhoff focused Ozil.
“Up to now with the Germany workforce, we have now by no means compelled one thing [with players], at all times attempting to persuade them as an alternative. With Mesut, that did not occur and in that sense, it’s a must to think about whether or not we may have executed with out him in a sporting sense,” mentioned Bierhoff in an interview with newspaper Die Welt.
Grindel, in the meantime, mentioned Ozil ought to clarify himself.
By making the argument a binary one, and selecting out Ozil within the course of, their criticism noticed them come down on the identical aspect of the argument as those that have torn into Ozil from the nation’s far proper.
That doesn’t embody Bayern president Uli Hoeness, however he nonetheless laid into Ozil on Monday, calling him a “poor excuse for footballer” who “hadn’t made a sort out since earlier than the 2014 World Cup”.
Criticism got here too from nationwide tabloid Bild, with one remark piece titled ‘sufficient is sufficient’.
But whereas a number of have criticised Ozil for under pouring oil onto the hearth within the debate, there was extra sympathy for the 29-year-old within the wake of his statements and stronger criticism of the DFB.
That began final week, with Hoeness’ cohort Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the Bayern chairman, defending Ozil and calling the DFB “amateurs”. The affiliation’s former press officer Harald Stenger has since described Grindel as “the FA’s worst president within the final 50 years” – although he didn’t work with him on the DFB.
Again in Ehrenfeld, Senol thinks the entire thing has been blown out of proportion.
“The man is not responsible. If I used to be in Ozil’s place, I’d have additionally executed the identical and why not? He is our president. It will be the identical if Angela Merkel did it too.”
Senol says he does not help Erdogan however there may be definitely some naivety on Ozil’s half if he didn’t respect what the implications of his actions could be.
That mentioned, there might be an impression for the DFB at a decrease stage, as Peter Ahrens from German journal Der Spiegel identified earlier this month.
“A sign that can even register with academy gamers from migrant households: do the DFB actually need us to play for Germany? Whether or not proficient gamers sooner or later will select Germany with out hesitation, will in all probability be mentioned otherwise after the expertise in how the Ozil case was handled.”
Ozil is in no way the one participant in current German historical past with a second nationality. Fellow World Cup winners Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski have Polish roots. Sami Khedira is an element Tunisian while Jerome Boateng is of Ghanaian descent.
Boateng got here underneath verbal assault over the last World Cup from one right-wing politician, who mentioned he would not need the Bayern Munich defender as his neighbour. That was emphatically drowned out by responses from each the participant and the general public.
The Ozil subject, however, has simply dragged on.
What occurs subsequent?
In a statement on Monday, the DFB praised Ozil for “shaping a profitable period on and off the pitch”, earlier than defending its personal work relating to integration and rejecting Ozil’s accusations of racism.
The phrases ‘Reinhard Grindel’ had been to not be discovered of their 472-word riposte, although. He’s on vacation. There are calls already from politicians and followers for him to resign instantly.
If Ozil is to play for Germany once more, that might seemingly be step one in direction of that.
So long as Bierhoff stays workforce supervisor, and even Joachim Low as coach, it is troublesome to see his worldwide profession persevering with.
Within the phrases of Senol: “That is a disgrace. He is a great lad. He is a great soccer participant and now they’ve misplaced a great footballer.”