Germany and Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil announced his retirement from international soccer on Sunday, citing racism from fans, criticism of a photo he took with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and unfair scapegoating by German’s top soccer officials. For no obvious reason, Bayern Munich president and 1974 West German World Cup winner Uli Hoeness did his best to prove Özil’s last gripe during a talk with reporters at a Munich airport.
Hoeness, despite never having managed Özil as a player, completely flamed the now ex-German international, calling Özil washed-up and overrated.
From ESPN, translated from the original German:
“I’m glad this nightmare is over,” Hoeness told reporters at the Munich airport. “He’s been playing crap for years.
“The last tackle he won was before the 2014 World Cup. And now he is hiding himself and his poor performances behind this photo.
“His 35 million [social media] followers, that of course do not actually exist in the real world, ensure that Ozil has played exceptionally when he successfully finds his man with a square ball.”
Hoeness’s original phrase for the people who over-praise Özil’s play, by the way, is “35 Million Follower-Boys,” which is even more biting an own.
Hoeness has played and then worked for the biggest club in Germany since the ’70s, minus some time away during a prison stint for tax evasion from 2014 to 2016. So this isn’t just some random nobody talking shit—it’s a very powerful influencer in Özil’s line of work. If Hoeness’s words are at all indicative of the treatment Özil’s was getting from his bosses in the German national team, he may well have been right to get out.