"So much love": Özil thanks Arsenal fans after Germany racism row


Mesut Özil thanked Arsenal fans for their "love" at a pre-season friendly after a torrid week following his racism allegations against Germany's football body.

Özil watched Arsenal's penalties defeat to Atletico Madrid on Thursday from the bench but he received one of the biggest cheers of the night when his image was flashed up on the big screen.

"Thanks to the Gunners in Singapore for showing so much love tonight," the 29-year-old German midfielder tweeted, with a picture of him waving to the crowd.

Arsenal fans dominated the audience of 23,000 who watched the London team go down 3-1 on penalties to Atletico in the International Champions Cup, after normal time ended at 1-1.

Özil, benched after his late return to training following the World Cup, sent shockwaves through German football when he quit the national team, complaining of "racism and disrespect".

German football chief Reinhard Grindel rejected the racism charge but admitted he should have defended Özil after the playmaker was abused for having a photograph taken with Turkey's strongman president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Özil, who was born in Germany to Turkish-origin parents and lifted the World Cup in 2014, also felt he was unfairly singled out for their shock group-stage exit at this year's tournament.

Arsenal's new head coach, Unai Emery, and players have rallied round Özil on their pre-season tour, while the hashtags #StandWithÖzil and #SayNoToRacism have been popular on social media.

"Of course everybody supports Mesut. We're with him, we're trying to help him," Arsenal midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan told AFP this week.

"Everyone knows that Arsenal is a team with a lot of foreign players and foreign employees. It doesn't matter which country you represent, it's like family and we support each other." (AFP)

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Comments for this article: "So much love": Özil thanks Arsenal fans after Germany racism row

Submitted by Angela888 on

Am originally German and I hope it is ok when I bring in my points here. Well, I am not really a football fan, but certainly I watched the world cup passionately. Not only to watch the games, also due to its big meaning for international sport spirit and international community combined with exemplary dedication of the players or teams.

However, that was exactly the reason why I was rather shocked about the common and very negative vibes against one of the best players in the German Team, Mesut Özil. Özil, one team member of the winner team from 2014 and now again doing his best together with his fellows, was attacked personally as bad I have never seen. After reading the private comments in the internet forums or several internet portals also, I really could not believe what to read there. It was worse! Sorry to write this, but very much of this private were extremely racist!

So what happened? Why was Özil the object of something like a common frustration? He took a photo with President Erdogan several days before the world cup started. Yes, and? By the way, who of us would have said “no” to the president of the homeland we are coming from or we still feel familiar with? The blamers?

This has nothing do to with sports spirit nor with free expression of opinion. It is rather more a pillory spectacle driven by pure hate, racism and uncontrolled frustration as a result of a hurt ego while using the already stamped “sinner” Özil as popular “wrongdoer”, namely in a completely inappropriate mercilessness way. That means not only disrespect. It rather shows that undifferentiated and brainless thinking unfortunately work.

I feel with Özil and I respect his decision totally. I certainly wish him and his family all the best and significantly the respect, love and familiarity he has been deserving for a long time. He will find abroad definitely. Somewhere this qualities must have been emigrated.