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Ozil using racism as a distraction, claims Hoeness

15:00 BST 19/08/2018
Mesut Ozil Arsenal 2018-19
The Bayern Munich president has hit out at the Arsenal star once again, saying he should not have been part of the Germany team before his retirement

Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness has accused Mesut Ozil of using racism as a distraction from his poor performances in the wake of his retirement from Germany.

Ozil has continued to be criticised in his homeland since he announced an end to his international career after the 2018 World Cup.

Before the tournament, Ozil and team-mate Ilkay Gundogan created a huge controversy when they held a meeting and posed in a photo with Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Ozil's underwhelming performances and Germany's group stage elimination from the competition in Russia saw the controversy spill over, with some claiming the reaction to the Erdogan picture had affected the team.

DFB president Reinhard Grindel urged him to explain the incident, but Ozil replied to the repeated attacks by claiming he had been made a scapegoat for the country's failure and been the target of racial abuse.

Although the criticism has flown in from all angles, Hoeness has been one of Ozil's most vocal detractors and his previous remarks about him drew a strong response from the player's agent.

Grindel has since expressed his regret for how the situation was handled, but Bayern chief Hoeness has gone on the attack again as he hit out at Ozil, saying the whole affair could have been avoided had coach Joachim Low been paying more attention to the 29-year-old's performances at Arsenal.

"Ozil has cleverly brought racism into the game to distract attention from the fact that he has not played football well for a long time," Hoeness told Sky Sport.

"I found it impossible that the DFB president had to get involved to solve the Ozil and Gundogan issue.

"Özil should have been forced to give an explanation, that was no small matter. He is a well-marketed product, who is represented by his agency much better than he is as a player.

"Joachim Low should have gone to Arsenal more often and had a look at him. He probably would not have taken him to the World Cup for sporting reasons, and then we would have been spared the whole drama."

World Cup winner Ozil played 92 times for Germany since his debut in 2009 and scored 23 times.