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Klopp defends Ozil as criticism continues after Germany retirement

Everton v Liverpool - Premier League

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 07: Jurgen Klopp, Manager of Liverpool looks on prior to the Premier League match between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park on April 7, 2018 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

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Mesut Ozil retired from the German national team earlier this month after saying he was subjected to “racism and disrespect” by the German Football Federation (DFB).

The issue at the heart of his decision to retire from Die Mannschaft was a meeting he and Ilkay Gundogan had with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as a photo was shared by Turkey’s leader and many were outraged due to the actions of Erdogan’s government in Turkey.

Ozil, a three-time winner of the German player of the year award and a World Cup winner for his homeland, is a third generation Turkish-German and was born in Gelsenkirchen. Since his retirement and his in-depth statement which claimed there were deep-rooted issues within the DFB, Ozil has been criticized by many leading figures in German soccer, most notably Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness who again launched an attack against him on Wednesday.

Hoeness said that Ozil “had been playing s--- for years” and “last won a tackle before the 2014 World Cup” as well as slamming his public image and saying it hid his ability as a player. Ozil’s international teammate Toni Kroos has also dismissed his claims about the DFB.

Klopp explained his thoughts to Sport 1.

“This is a classic example of absolute misinformation and, of course, complete nonsense. This photo was used - first by Erdogan, then by many other people,” Klopp said. “In politics, little things have always been blown up and big things pushed away in order to continue. Normally intelligent people tend to hold back because it is not easy to say the right thing. I would count myself too. All those who have no idea are very loud in the consideration. I know Ilkay Gundogan very well, I know Emre Can and Nuri Sahin very well. I do not know Mesut so well, but I would like to take him home. I do not doubt these guys at least about their loyalty to our homeland.

“The difference is that they just have diversity. Where is the problem? That’s beautiful. Cultural diversity, we all thought it was really cool around the 2006 World Cup. I saw these fantastic commercials where the parents of Gerald Asamoah and Mario Gomez had a barbecue party together. We all sighed for how great that works. And now two guys are seduced by a politically quite intelligent people to a photo, and then have relatively few opportunities to say the one hundred percent right. That’s why I find this discussion hypocritical. Bad things happened because people were not informed properly.”

After his initial statement on the matter Ozil hasn’t said anything else about his decision to retire from the German national team.

The 29-year-old has suffered a difficult start to the season with the Gunners as he was hooked off during their 3-2 defeat at Chelsea last weekend and was pushed to work harder defensively by Arsenal’s new manager Unai Emery.

Ozil’s mercurial talents are undoubted after his spells at Schalke, Real Madrid and Arsenal but there is no doubt he is going through a tough time on and off the pitch and this issue could go a long way to explaining why something didn’t seem right behind-the-scenes with the German national team this summer. The reigning World Cup champs crashed out at the group stage and all did not seem well with Joachim Low’s squad.

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