News Karnataka
Friday, December 08 2023
World at Feet

Mesut Ozil ‘Symbol of Resistance’ retires from football

Photo Credit : Facebook

German footballers and fans had a nightmare in the Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022 when they got crashed out despite a last 4-2 victory. They also had a humiliating defeat from Japan and barely managed to get a draw on Spain. Probably this kind of experience must teach the management and the authority a lesson to treat all their players with dignity and respect, which is often not the case in European teams, particularly in Germany. One such victim was Mesut Ozil, the world cup-winning midfielder of Germany.

Ozil, a German national born to Turkish immigrants, was always targeted as a non-German. Multiple racist abuses were levelled against him. Not being able to withstand he had even blamed the country’s football association, Deutscher Fussball-Bund (DFB), and biased media for racism in their treatment of people with Turkish roots.

Although he was a dominant goal scorer for Die Mannschaft and was a triumphant member of Germany’s 2014 World Cup-winning squad, his Turkish roots made him an easy target for abuse reflecting broader structural biases in Germany and Europe. It all had begun in the 2018 World Cup when Ozil and Ilkay Gundogan who is also of Turkish origin took pictures with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. This was followed by many abuses, and they were badly booed with indecent statements and comments.

In all this political rage he retired from the German squad in 2018 amid the hot debate over racist clashes. In fact, Ozil came up with a brave fight against the German racist-friendly management. But now in a sudden shock, Ozil has announced his retirement from Football on Wednesday, 22 March 2023.

His one of Instagram posts read, “I’ve had the privilege to be a professional football player for almost 17 years now and I feel incredibly thankful for the opportunity. But in recent weeks and months, having also suffered some injuries, it’s become more and more clear that it’s time to leave the big stage of football.”

Ozil in his career has been on the field more than 645 times both for his clubs and country squad. He has 114 goals to his name and over 222 assists which are equal to his goals. Ozil had his debut as a senior with German domestic games. But his performances and dedicated hard work earned him a call-up to Germany’s squad for the 2010 World Cup, where he helped his country reach the semi-finals.
He signed for Real Madrid a month after the World Cup and spent three years in Spain, winning one LaLiga title and the Spanish Super Cup. Ozil made 105 LaLiga appearances for Real, scoring 19 goals. Later he joined Arsenal in 2013, helping them win the first of four FA Cup titles the following year. He scored 33 Premier League goals and made 59 assists in his time in north London.

Ozil is not the only one who has fallen victim to the hooligan mindset of a few European ideologies. There are several of them who have been wiped off their opportunities to grow due to this fact. One of the greatest acts of Ozil that we appreciated and applauded for is his concern for fellow human beings who are victims of racism too. He is in fact the symbol of resistance and an inspiration for the silent voices that fight against the reality of racism. The saddest aspect of all is sports are known for inclusiveness and oneness. Irrespective of caste, creed, colour, religion, and sex it’s a platform for all the skilled to claim an opportunity and exhibit their talents and bring glory to themselves and others. If games and sports are used as the platform to level the highest racist ideologies, then it’s disgrace for the same.

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Roshan H. Raj

The author is the Vice Principal at Spearhead Academy and has Postgraduation in Communication and Journalism from Kannur University. He is a passionate journalist, debater and an orator. As a resource person he has conducted workshops and seminars on communication in Schools and Colleges of Karnataka and Kerala.

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