Mesut Ozil racism row not to blame for Germany's World Cup exit - Joachim Low
Germany coach Joachim Low is "disappointed" that Mesut Ozil did not personally inform him of his decision to quit international football but insisted the racism row surrounding the midfielder did not contribute to the country's World Cup failure.
Ozil announced in July that he would not play for Germany again amid claims of racist treatment by the German football federation (DFB) and its president, Reinhard Grindel. He did not claim racism within the national squad.
Low, whose Germany side were knocked out in the group stage at the World Cup in Russia, said the Arsenal midfielder's representative had told him about the decision.
"There was never any form of racism in the Germany team," he said. "His agent called me and informed about his retirement.
"Mesut did not call me, not to this very day. I tried to reach him several times in the past two weeks, via text message, via phone. Mesut has decided to take this path. I must accept it.
"Ozil has been my player for nine years. We've experienced a lot together. A few lows, but more highs. We've won the World Cup. This will still stay forever.
"I am still of the opinion that he was one of the best players we had in Germany in the last 20, 30 years. One day, we'll have a conversation. I would have wished for him to inform me personally, and I was disappointed at first."
Low added: "The issue cost us a lot of power, and nerves, because it was always there. But it was not decisive in our World Cup exit."
While some reports claimed Low had said Ozil "exaggerated" claims of racism, ESPN FC's Raphael Honigstein clarified the Germany coach's view.
That's a very poor translation. Überzogen can mean exaggerate but Löw was saying that Özil's accusation "went to far", in terms of pointing the finger at the DFB— Raphael Honigstein (@honigstein) 29 August 2018
He wrote on Twitter: "That's a very poor translation. Uberzogen can mean exaggerate but Low was saying that Ozil's accusation "went too far" in terms of pointing the finger at the DFB."
Ozil's announcement came after he and Ilkay Gundogan, who have Turkish roots, had their photo taken with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in London in mid-May, sparking a backlash from some fans and politicians.