Oliver Bierhoff says that it may have been a mistake to take Mesut Ozil to the World Cup considering all of the controversy involving Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erogan, who took his picture with Ozil and Ilkay Gundogan just days ahead of the Germany announcing their preliminary squad.
“We should have considered passing on him,” Bierhoff said, according to Die Welt. “We have never forced national team players to do something, but rather always tried to convince them.
“We failed to do that with Mesut. And thus, we should have considered to pass on him for sporting reasons.
“But you also have to note that Mesut could not just say what was expected of him due to certain and evident reasons. Ilkay Gundogan talked, and by doing so opened himself up, but yet he was still strongly criticized.”
Ozil was used as a scapegoat for Germany’s early World Cup ouster, mainly by the German media but also by Germany’s far-right, with xenophobic abuse aimed at him.
The experience has left Ozil indecisive about representing Germany amid all of the drama.