Toni Kroos is the third of Ozil’s former Germany teammates to dismiss claims of racism
Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos has dismissed claims made by Mesut Ozil that there is inherent racism in Germany’s national team set up.
Ozil made headlines after the World Cup when he announced his retirement from international football, citing “racism and disrespect”.
This announcement followed a meeting with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a controversial figure who has jailed journalists and academics in Turkey as part of his increasingly authoritarian style of leadership.
Ozil insisted that the meeting, which took place prior to the World Cup, was neither politically motivated nor an endorsement of Erdogan, and that he would have met the Turkish president regardless of who it was.
The meeting was quickly condemned by figures in Germany, and Ozil believes it was used as a means to criticise him for perceived poor performances during the tournament in Russia, which saw the holders eliminated in the group stage.
“I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose,” Ozil said in his three-page retirement statement.
Kroos however has taken a different view. The 28-year-old did admit that there were genuine issues which Ozil addressed, but that they were overshadowed by “nonsense”.
“Mesut is a deserved international and as a player he deserved a better departure. But the way he resigned was not in order,” Kroos said in an interview with German newspaper Bild.
“The parts in his statement that are rightly addressed are unfortunately overshadowed by the significantly higher amount of nonsense. I think he knows very well that racism within the national team and the DFB does not exist.”
Kroos is the third of Ozil’s compatriots to dismiss the claims, after fellow Bavarian wunderboys Manuel Neuer and Thomas Muller also questioned the legitimacy of his concerns.