Mesut Ozil has found an unlikely alley in Jurgen Klopp after the Liverpool boss defended the Arsenal midfielder over his decision to quit international football.
The Gunners playmaker called time on his international career this summer after being widely criticised for his performances for his country at the 2018 World Cup, in which Germany crashed out in the group stages.
Some critics of Ozil claimed he didn’t show enough passion in wanting to play for his country, with some even citing his Turkish background for a perceived lack of effort.
Ozil posed for a photo with Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan alongside Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan ahead of the World Cup – and that did not help matters.
And with Erdogan should a divisive figure in the political world, Ozil opted to quit playing for Germany citing racism and a lack of support from the German Football Federation as part of his reasoning.
Ozil’s claims have since been dismissed by the likes of Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer and Toni Kroos, while Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness has further questioned the player by claiming it was a miracle he could ever be deemed worthy of captaining Arsenal.
Liverpool boss Klopp, however, is having none of it and believes Ozil has been scapegoated in his homeland.
“This is a classic example of absolute misinformation and, of course, complete nonsense,” Klopp told sport1. “This photo was used – first by Erdogan, then by many other people.
“In politics, little things have always been blown up and big things pushed away in order to continue. Normally intelligent people tend to hold back because it is not easy to say the right thing. I would count myself too. All those who have no idea are very loud in these conversations.
“I know Ilkay Gundogan very well, I know Emre Can and Nuri Sahin very well. I do not know Mesut so well, but I would like to take him home. I do not doubt these guys at least about their loyalty to our homeland. The difference is that they just have one more thing. Where is the problem? That’s beautiful. Cultural diversity, we all thought it was really cool around the 2006 World Cup.
“I saw these fantastic commercials where the parents of Gerald Asamoah and Mario Gomez had a barbecue party together.
“We all sighed for how great that works. And now two guys are seduced by politically quite intelligent people to have a photo, and then have relatively few opportunities to say what they want 100% right.
“That’s why I find this discussion hypocritical. Bad things happened because people were not informed properly. Even the media should not create a buzz around something like this every day. Just cool off and see the people behind it.”