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Father of German Soccer Player Suggests Son Should Quit National Team

"He is now getting whistled at and made a scapegoat. I can understand if he feels insulted."

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The German National Soccer Team has faced a lot of criticism at home after failing to make it out of the group stage of the World Cup. One player in particular though, Mesut Özil, has taken a lion’s share of the blame. So much so, that his dad recently suggested the 29-year-old midfielder should resign from the national team and be done with it.

While Özil’s play has certainly contributed to the criticism ⏤ it was lackluster ⏤ the real reason he is being targeted comes from his actions off the field. Earlier this year, Arsenal midfielder found himself in the middle of a controversy when he took a photo with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, leading many to question his loyalty. Even Oliver Bierhoff, one of the managers of the German team, publicly wondered if Özil should be kicked off the team. There was enough public flak that Mustafa Özil felt the need to step in and defend his son.

“He no longer wants to explain himself, he no longer wants to have to defend himself all the time,” Mustafa said. “He has been playing for nine years on the German team… including becoming world champions with the A-team. He has contributed a lot to this country. It has always been: if we win, we win together. But when we lose, we lose because of Özil? He is now getting whistled at and made a scapegoat. I can understand if he feels insulted.”

Mustafa said that the treatment of his son has been entirely “unfair” and while he would quit if in his son’s cleats, he recognizes that the decision will ultimately be up to Mesut. And no matter what he decides, the proud father will support his son either way.

“He needs to decide for himself,” Mustafa said. “But if I were in his place, I’d say ⏤ thanks a lot but that’s it. The hurt has grown too strong. And who knows what’ll happen at the next match? In Mesut’s place, I would step down. But that’s just my very personal opinion.”