I respect Mesut Ozil's Germany decision, says Arsenal boss Unai Emery
By Richard Cooke
Last Updated: 25/07/18 1:30pm
Unai Emery says he respects Mesut Ozil's decision to retire from international football with Germany and wants to offer him a semblance of normality at Arsenal.
The midfielder called time on his nine-year career with Germany this week accusing the German Football Association (DFB) of treating him with "racism and disrespect" over the issue of a photograph featuring the player alongside Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan which was taken before the World Cup.
The DFB has "emphatically rejected" Ozil's claims of racist treatment and while the Gunners manager Emery did not take sides, he offered his support to the German as a member of his squad on a pre-season tour of Singapore.
Speaking ahead of the International Champions Cup match against Atletico Madrid, Emery said: "It's a personal decision (which) I respect.
"We are like his home. We are like his family. We are going to help him to feel good.
"He feels here with us that he can work every day, and it is good for us that he decided to come here and work with us before our two matches.
"I prefer to give him normality in the team, he feels good with us."
Emery's public support for Ozil was echoed by the 29-year-old's team-mate Petr Cech.
"As a team we support him here, we try to make sure he feels good, so he can train and perform at his best," said Cech.
"That's all we can do. Obviously his decision is his decision and everyone should respect that.
"He's training really well, he's happy to be with us and we're happy to have him back as well because he is one of the key players in our team and we need him to be fit and ready for the season.
"In general in football you always have criticism and it's not always the right thing to do to a player.
"Football brings so many millions of people and opinions together that it's always been like that.
"As a professional football player you have to make sure it doesn't move you and that you perform. That's all you have to do - perform on the pitch and then all the critics disappear."
Arsenal play Atletico Madrid on Thursday before facing Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday.