Former German captain Lothar Matthäus has suggested that its’ a positive that Arsenal playmaker Mesut Özil has retired from the German national team amid accusations of racism from the German FA after the player was criticized in the media after being photographed with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May.
Talking exclusively to beIN SPORTS, Matthäus suggested that Özil’s form had dropped off significantly for the Germany team in the last eighteen months.
“He was a very good player he helped the German a lot to make great results in the last tournament, especially in the World Cup 2014 he was a key player in the national team. But in the last year and a half, he was not anymore in this good condition as before.”
The past couple of weeks have given me time to reflect, and time to think over the events of the last few months. Consequently, I want to share my thoughts and feelings about what has happened. pic.twitter.com/WpWrlHxx74— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) July 22, 2018
Özil who penned a lengthy message on his retirement had said: “I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose."
The German FA has strongly denied the allegations of racism and a failure to stand by the player as the 2014 World Champions crashed out of the group stages in Russia. Despite the continuing controversy, Matthäus believes that the time is right for the playmaker to retire from the international game.
“It’s best at this moment he retire from the German national team and he focuses for his club Arsenal, and the German national team has to say thank you to Mesut for the years he was playing but in another way, it’s a good chance to make this change.”
Matthäus who captained Germany to the 1990 World Cup, insisted that Germany must move on and introduce younger players into the squad.
“What we have to do in the German national team, we have to bring in the young generation players into the team and Mesut Özil is not playing at this level, how he played before and for this I think he cannot help the German national team to come back to make the results like they did four years ago in Brazil.”
Whilst Matthäus was asked if Özil was made a scapegoat for Germany bowing out at the group stage, the question was quickly rebutted by the former Bayern Munich midfielder.
“No, this was not one player, this was not one coach this was generally a big package from many wrong decisions and many mistakes.”
Matthäus went on to highlight several other reasons why Germany failed to defend their World Cup crown, including the absence of Leroy Sane being a major factor.
“Less motivation from four years, no team spirit, no passion, maybe the wrong system, maybe the coach invited the wrong players like the coach forgot to invite Leroy Sane from Manchester City he was the best young player in the Premier League. He has high speed, when you don’t have the speed today in your game how the Germans didn’t have it in the last World Cup then you cannot make the results.”