Mesut Ozil has angrily fired back at his critics for spreading "bullsh*t" to gain extra publicity, while claiming that Mikel Arteta didn't give him a chance at Arsenal towards the end of the 2019-20 season.
When Arteta succeeded Unai Emery in the Emirates Stadium hot seat back in December, Ozil was initially brought in from the cold to help the Gunners start climbing back up the table after a disastrous start to the campaign.
The 31-year-old showed flashes of his best form as results began to improve, but his progress was interrupted by the coronavirus outbreak in March.
English football was eventually cleared to resume in June following a three-month hiatus, and Arteta's men returned to action with a disappointing 3-0 defeat against Manchester City.
Ozil was not even included in the Arsenal matchday squad for the trip to the Etihad Stadium, which became a running theme over the next two months in both the top flight and the FA Cup.
The German playmaker did not feature in any of the Gunners' final 10 Premier League fixtures, and also had to watch on from the sidelines as the north Londoners won the FA Cup.
Ozil congratulated his team-mates after their showpiece victory over Chelsea via social media, having been granted permission to take a holiday in Turkey instead of attending the game at Wembley.
When quizzed on how little football he has played for Arsenal in 2020, the experienced midfielder expressed his disappointment over the unfair scrutiny he has found himself under.
Ozil told the Athletic: "If you consider the circumstances, you cannot use these statistics [that show Arsenal performed better without Ozil].
"If you have to, it is more accurate to look at the data for my whole Arsenal career and also from the 10 games after Mikel was appointed - not so bad for someone who had barely been picked for a year and a half.
"People will always love or hate you, and the main thing is the people who know you and what they think. What the people outside say about my play or my character is irrelevant - they just speak bullshit to make publicity and they know by using my name it will bring them attention.
"Do it as much as you like. I don’t care, or listen to people who don’t know me. I didn’t get here because of them but because of the family and friends who I trust and are always behind me."
Ozil refused to be drawn on his relationship with Arteta, but did admit that he was frustrated to be left out after keeping himself in top physical condition during the coronavirus-enforced break.
He added: "I can’t talk about my private conversations with the coach. But I can tell you I know my body well. I was fit enough to play every game before the break and, apart from a small injury, it was the same after.
"My daughter was born while we were off so maybe I was not always sleeping perfectly, but this is normal. I actually had more energy and excitement to play because of her. As a player, you sometimes have bad days and can’t always be happy, especially if you’re not playing.
"When you know how good you are and you know you’re not going to be picked, it’s hard to be at 100 per cent and, of course, you can get disappointed. This is my profession, it’s what I love doing: being on the pitch, playing matches, showing the people, helping the club and my team.
"I fully respect the coach’s decision but I believe these things should mainly be decided on the pitch. After the restart, I wasn’t given a chance to show what I can do. You don’t play 10 games in a row if you’re unfit, not good enough or don’t behave well.
"If I played these games badly and was then left out completely for that reason then I might understand, but this was not the case."