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23rd Jul 2018

Hector Bellerin defends Mesut Ozil’s decision to quit Germany team over racism

The Spaniard has jumped to the defence of his teammate

Wayne Farry

Hector Bellerin

Bellerin has his teammate’s back

Hector Bellerin has taken to Twitter to defend his Arsenal teammate Mesut Ozil after the German international announced that he will retire from international football citing racism in his home country.

Ozil released a three-part statement on the treatment he has experienced during the World Cup in the aftermath of his meeting with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May.

The meeting provoked widespread condemnation in Germany over the meeting, and was party blamed by many for both his and the national team’s poor World Cup performances as a distraction.

The 29-year-old insisted that the meeting was apolitical, and that it – as well as his dual-heritage – are used as a means to criticise him when he performs poorly for the national team, saying “I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose”.

The statement itself has provoked a backlash from members of the German football world, with Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness telling Bild: “He’s been playing dirt for years. He won the last duel before the 2014 World Cup. And now he hides himself and his crap performance behind this photo. Whenever we played against Arsenal, we targeted him, because we knew that’s the weak point.”

In his tweet defending his teammate, Bellerin said: “Surreal that someone who has done so much for his country on and off the pitch has been treated with such disrespect. Well done @MesutOzil1088 for standing up to this behaviour!”