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Özil wants to sit out Turkey football clash

The Local · 6 Oct 2011, 14:45

Published: 06 Oct 2011 14:45 GMT+02:00

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“I love Turkey as much as I do Germany,” he told Turkish daily newspaper Radikal.

“Even though we have already qualified, for me this will be the most difficult match of the competition.”

But the German Football Association (DFB) rejected his request to sit out the match, saying it could encourage bad habits, Radikal reported.

German-born Özil is often held up as a brilliant example of integration, yet when he first played for Germany against Turkey last year in Berlin he was booed by Turkish supporters, one of whom held up a placard reading, “We could’ve been cheering for you, Özil!”

The 23-year-old midfielder told Radikal on Wednesday that the booing last year had scuppered him, and that he had asked the DFB to sit out Friday’s match at Istanbul’s Türk Telekom Arena.

Although Germany has already qualified for the Euro 2012 finals, Turkey needs to do well in order to go through and Özil could face a sea of angry Turkish fans if things do not go their way.

Most of the player’s extended family still live in Turkey, so he explained to Radikal that he was aware of the prejudices many Turks still hold against him and that he would expect to be jeered at again.

His father Mustafa also spoke with Radikal.

“Özil is no different from [German born, Turkish players] Nuri, Hamit or Mehmet, but circumstances took them to the Turkish team and him the German. I wish people would accept his decision,” he said.

“In Germany today there are Turkish politicians in the Bundestag and Turkish professors in the universities. We Turks came here 50 years ago as guest workers and brought skills to contribute to the country. My son is a part of this and Turkey should be proud of him.”

Yet Özil sat out training on Wednesday, citing Achilles tendon pain, and has yet to train with the squad. Coach Joachim Löw has said a decision would be made about his fitness on Thursday; just 24 hours before the match.

Undefeated so far, Guus Hiddink’s team qualified following a 6 – 2 victory against Austria, and will be heading to the finals in Poland and Ukraine next year. Riding on a wave of nine consecutive victories, Hiddink said “I can see very few weaknesses [in the German team].”

However Löw admitted, "We have in fact a few question marks over our players," as key strikers Mario Gomez and Miroslav Klose are suffering from injuries. Their potential absence from the field could benefit Turkey, whose ticket to the finals still hangs in the balance despite two home wins in their string of six undefeated matches.

Turkey needs a better result against Germany than Belgium gets against Kazakhstan.

Story continues below…

Turkish Left-back Gokhan Gonul said, "We know the power of Germany; they come with an unbeaten record in the group. We know it will be difficult, but not impossible."

Özil told Radikal that he hoped, “Turkey reaches the next round in the Euro 2012 competition.”

The Local/AFP/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:24 October 6, 2011 by raandy
I assume he is not to worried or concerned about angering his German fans or team members.
18:29 October 6, 2011 by Edin
Now, before you start spitting and crapping over this guy, please put your self in his shoes... and think how you would feel?!

I understand him fully... it is a tough one.... and worse is, noone cares
18:38 October 6, 2011 by Englishted

Some of us do care about football,he made his name and career in Germany pay back time.
18:48 October 6, 2011 by Edin

haha...your argument is not quite ok... you see, a lot of other players from all around the world made their name and career in Germany and they still play for the countries they come from...

I am not saying ízil shouldn't play for Germany, only that I understand his problem... and my first post does apply to you too
20:30 October 6, 2011 by drbasil85
I am Palestinian and my dream is to be German

If I was in his situation I will play this much faithfully with all my strength

he must choose to be a full German person or to be treated as a half German

when Germans loved him they do because he is German

when Germans train him and grow him they do as if he is a full German person and at the same time he must do the same

Vielen Danke
21:35 October 6, 2011 by Samoht
In the Tagesschau the claim of the newspaper was denied and ízil and Löw said that he wants to play!
23:12 October 6, 2011 by elitemarine206
Its an honor that he gets to play for the German national team. He should be proud of that and shouldnt even think twice about playing or not. Not everyone gets the oppurtunity to play on a professional level. Let alone play for Die Mannschaft.
05:03 October 7, 2011 by derExDeutsche
' This Is What Hypocrisy Looks Like '
06:24 October 7, 2011 by auniquecorn
Smart move ízil, your a genius, now when germany loses, you will be blamed for throwing the game. should of kept your mouth shut.
08:03 October 7, 2011 by delvek
drbasil you are correct.

These decisions are ones he shouldve had with himself before he committed to the German team. I do also agree he has put himself in a tough spot by announcing this, he is up a creek either way.
08:45 October 7, 2011 by twisted
How about just getting him off the team and let him play for Turkey. Problem solved and everyone is happy except ízil because then he loses the big money he gets for playing for Germany. I certainly shed no tears for him.
09:45 October 7, 2011 by tueken

You know nothing about football.
17:30 October 7, 2011 by Englishted

You are wrong many player from other lands play and earn the money in Germany but which ones were unknown in their own land and having become famous in German returned to play for their country?
21:29 October 7, 2011 by finanzdoktor
Well, I guess its a moot point now, as Ozil's injury must have kept him out of the game along with Klose. Interesting though. Gomez was also a question mark for the game, and he scored their only goal thus far.

It's too bad the Turks won't let him play for the team he wants to play on, without being labeled a traitor, or something like that. I mean, he was born in Germany, so why wouldn't he play for Germany? Imagine, if this has not already happened, if a player of Germen descent was born in Turkey, and decided to play for the Turkish national team, and the Germans treated him like the Turks are treating Ozil?

Talk about the uproar over that one, labelling Germans as being intolerant. But not, when the shoe is on the other foot, right?? Geez!!!!!!!
11:02 October 8, 2011 by englishyank
Looks like the German team did all right without him. Perhaps now he could relocate to his beloved Turkish homeland and join their national team in order to avoid any further anxieties with conflicting loyalties.
10:17 October 9, 2011 by nolibs
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