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'It was a reaction to the stress' - Kevin-Prince Boateng explains Ozil's Germany retirement

09:34 BST 11/09/2018
Mesut Ozil
The former Germany underage international admits he can relate to the Arsenal star's feelings of victimisation which caused him to step back

Kevin-Prince Boateng believes that Mesut Ozil's international retirement was "a reaction to the stress" of being publicly criticised and discriminated against in Germany.

The Berlin-born forward played for Germany at underage level before switching to Ghana and believes his own experiences are similar to the Arsenal star's.

Ozil retired from international football after the World Cup, releasing a three-part statement where he highlighted racism and discrimination in Germany and its football association.

Boateng says he was surprised by Ozil's decision to take a step back from playing for Germany, but admits he can relate to the choice, having also experienced discrimination while playing.

"I did not expect it," Boateng told Bild. "I think it was a reaction from the stress, and I'm talking from experience, I know what it's like when everyone comes at you, when you're really harshly criticised, when your family gets hit."

Former AC Milan and Eintracht Frankfurt star Boateng also expressed his surprise at the racist elements emerging in Germany, particularly in the city of Chemnitz where far-right demonstrators held a march following the death of a German citizen who was involved in a fight with two Afghan nationals.

Over 2,500 people attended the march, including between 400 and 500 known extremists, with videos posted online showing many of the participants joining in a chant of “national socialism, now, now now.

Boateng is shocked by the events and has called on the government to step in to prevent more similar protests happening in his home country.

"It's alarming that this will happen and that it will be more and more, we have to wake up quickly, we have to do something about it," Boateng inisisted.

"There are 2,500 people walking through Chemnitz doing the Hitler salute. These pictures and videos go out into the world, they shamelessly use a whole city as a projection screen for their activities. You have to shut it down, you cannot simply accept it."