Dietmar Hamann says Mesut Ozil's Germany retirement has left a 'nasty taste in my mouth'
Hamman accuses German FA (DFB) of 'weak leadership' for allowing Ozil citicism to grow
Last Updated: 24/07/18 6:13am
Dietmar Hamann has accused the German FA (DFB) of "weak leadership" for allowing criticism of Mesut Ozil to grow and says the Arsenal midfielder's decision not to play for his country again "leaves a nasty taste in my mouth".
Ozil, who has Turkish ancestry, has been heavily criticised in Germany for appearing in a picture with Turkish President Erdogan, who has been accused of abusing human rights laws and restricting the freedom of the press, before the World Cup.
The midfielder quit international football on Sunday after accusing DFB officials of racism, claims the governing body rejected on Monday and criticised him for failing to give "answers" regarding the controversial photograph.
Speaking to Sky Germany, Hamann felt the whole sequence of events had spiralled out of control.
"What happened to this guy leaves a nasty taste in my mouth. Of course, his behaviour was not clever by taking this picture just before the World Cup. But the DFB should have taken care of this", said Hamann who won 59 caps for Germany.
"Now everybody is swinging at him. His qualities are questioned. We should stay strong. We shouldn't become populistic.
"It is a fact that the DFB should have behaved differently after the picture was taken. This problem should have been solved before the World Cup.
"Bad work from the DFB. And weak leadership. They just let the problem grow. That's why everybody started attacking Ozil."
Özil, 29, was fiercely criticised after Germany were knocked out in the group stage at the World Cup in Russia but four years earlier was part of the team who won the tournament in Brazil, starting in the final.
The German Minister for Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas told Sky Germany: "I don't think the case of a millionaire who works and lives in England provides the best reference point for the integration ability of Germany.
He went on to criticise Germany's World Cup performance, adding: "The true problems were on the pitch. Germany was eliminated so early and that did not have a lot to do with the picture that Ozil took with Erdogan. I think everybody should pause for a moment. I don't see many people in this case who behaved well."
Ozil won 92 caps for Germany, scoring 5 times and was voted Germany's national team player of the year on five separate occasions.