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Sania Mirza extends support to Mesut Ozil after ‘racism’ controversy

Sania Mirza expressed sadness at Mesut Ozil announcing his international retirement in controversial circumstances and said that it is completely unacceptable.

football Updated: Jul 23, 2018 20:11 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Sania Mirza,Mesut Ozil,Sania Mirza Mesut Ozil
Sania Mirza has supported Mesut Ozil in the ‘racism’ controversy surrounding his international retirement.(PTI)

Mesut Ozil, who announced his international retirement after facing ‘racism and disrespect’ because of his Turkish roots, has found support from Indian tennis player Sania Mirza.

Ozil was heavily criticised after he, along with his teammate, Ilkay Gundogan, who has Turkish ancestry, posed for a photograph with Erdogan at a charitable event in May. However, Mirza, who herself is no stranger to controversies, extended her support to Ozil on social media.

“This is the saddest thing to read as a an athlete, and more importantly as a human being.. you are right bout one thing @MesutOzil1088 racism should not and will not be accepted under any circumstance.. sad if all this is true..,” she wrote on the social networking side on Monday.

Ozil, 29, was a key member of Germany’s World Cup-winning side in 2014 and has been voted by fans as the team’s player of the year five times since 2011. But, with Germany exiting FIFA World Cup 2018 in the group stages, the midfielder was criticised for his performance and his loyalty to the national team was questioned due to the photograph in question.

“In the eyes of Grindel and his supporters I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose,” Ozil wrote in a lengthy statement in English posted on his Twitter account.

He added he did not feel accepted in German society despite paying taxes there, making donations to German schools and being part of the team that won the World Cup.

“It is with a heavy heart and after much consideration that because of recent events, I will no longer be playing for Germany at international level whilst I have this feeling of racism and disrespect,” he said.

“I used to wear the German shirt with such pride and excitement, but now I don’t,” he said. “I feel unwanted and think that what I have achieved since my international debut in 2009 has been forgotten.”

First Published: Jul 23, 2018 20:10 IST