Mesut Ozil supported by Kevin-Prince Boateng and Fatau Dauda

Mesut Ozil

Germany's football association, the DFB, was among those to criticise Ozil after he had his photograph taken with Erdogan.

In a series of tweets, Ozil defended his meeting with Erdogan during a charitable event in London, saying a picture with the Turkish president was not about politics or elections.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has congratulated Mesut Ozil for his "national and native" decision to quit the German national team over what the Arsenal playmaker perceived to be racially-motivated criticism of his World Cup performances. Germany has previously criticised the Turkish leader's crackdown on political dissent following a failed coup. According to the player, only the intervention of head coach Low and team manager Oliver Bierhoff ensured he would then take part in Russian Federation.

Pressed on whether Ozil will be missed by Germany heading forward, 1990 World Cup victor Matthaus added: "No, we have a lot of good players, and when some player can not perform like before, we have options to give the new generation the chance to help us to make the results like, for example, 2014".

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In an extensive statement of its own on Monday afternoon - coming after the DFB had spoken to Ozil, who is on a pre-season tour to Singapore with Arsenal - the governing body paid tribute to the midfielder's contribution, but also moved to reject any suggestions of racism.

The third-generation Turkish-German was born in Gelsenkirchen and was a key member of his country's 2014 World Cup-winning side.

The governing body, though, stressed its integration work was "of central importance at all levels".

"We are against racism, religious discrimination and we condemn those who act in this way", mayor Mustafa Semerci said, according to DHA news agency. "One world, one people".

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He is a footballer who has contributed a great deal to the national team.

"Stand for Ozil and say no to racism".

Some commentators and former Germany players see Ozil's retirement as no great loss for Germany.

Authorities in Ozil's ancestral Turkish town have erected a new street sign showing the photo of him in May with Erdogan, replacing one picturing him wearing the worldwide strip of Germany, the country of his birth.

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Ozil has received plenty of support on social media following Sunday's announcement, including from his Arsenal team-mate Hector Bellerin.

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