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10th Jun 2018

İlkay Gündoğan breaks silence after receiving boos from Germany fans during friendly against Saudi Arabia

He recently met with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Reuben Pinder

He was booed by his home fans during a friendly against Saudi Arabia

İlkay Gündoğan will be thrilled to be going to this summer’s World Cup, having missed out on the European Championships in 2016 and the last World Cup two years before that, both times through injury.

But his morale will not be at its highest after he was booed and whistled off by his own fans during Germany’s friendly match vs Saudi Arabia. Germany won the game 2-1, but Gündoğan was targeted with abuse from the crowd every time he touched the ball after coming on for Marco Reus.

He has been subject to this harsh treatment after it was reported that at his recent meeting with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Gündoğan presented the autocrat with a a signed shirt. On the shirt, the Man City midfielder had reportedly written ‘great respect for my president’.

The German people were not pleased with their players having friendly meetings with Erdoğan, given his disgracefully poor record of suppressing criticism of his government in Turkey, regardless of whether the players are of Turkish descent.

In an interview with France Football, Gündoğan opened up about how the boos affected him.

“We are used to the whistles of the opposing fans, but when we are booed by his own fans, it’s hard to live with.”

Germany manager Joachim Löw will be hoping that players of Turkish descent in his squad, including Mesut Özil, are not subjected to abuse from their own fans during the World Cup in this summer, as Die Mannschaft try to retain the trophy.