Germany captain Manuel Neuer said Mesut Ozil’s decision to retire from international competition was his own decision, stating that the team needs players that are proud to play for their country.
Ozil made the announcement that he would not play for Germany again amid claims of racist treatment by the German football federation (DFB) and its president, Reinhard Grindel.
“It’s a decision made by each player,” Neuer said, to the German media. “The reasons are something to find for yourself, and he found them. We of course accept that decision.”
“It was a lot back and forth, and a lot was talked and written about it,” Neuer said. “This issue — after Germany’s exit — was one that was very exhausting for those who read everything.”
“We have always tried to integrate all players,” Neuer said. “We did everything for our teammates so everyone could go into the games with a good feeling.”
Neuer said it is time for a new beginning, saying that it was the DFB’s job to “restructure the team and give it a face again.”
“It’s about having players again who indeed are proud to play for the national team and give it their all for their own country so that we will return to winning ways,” Neuer said. “It’s a fact that a lot of things need to be changed.”