Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness has said Mesut Ozil has been "s--t for years" and is hiding behind his recent international retirement to make up for lacklustre performances on the pitch.
Ozil announced his retirement from the Germany national team on Sunday after he was criticised for taking a photo with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, where Die Mannschaft crashed to a first-round exit.
Hoeness spoke to Sport Bild (h/t Mirror's Mark Jones) and was hardly upset over Ozil's decision:
"Ozil has been playing s--t for years. He won his last tackle before the 2014 World Cup.
"All he is doing on the field is playing cross passes. Now he hides himself and his crap performance behind this photo.
"No one questioned he was playing crap at the World Cup.
"His 35 million follower boys, who of course do not exist in the real world, all think that he has played excellently if he plays a cross pass."
Hoeness went so far as to say Die Roten would prey on Ozil in meetings with Arsenal: "Whenever we played against Arsenal, we played on him because we knew he was the weak point."
The third and final installment of Ozil's retirement statement took aim at German Football Association (DFB) President Reinhard Grindel, whom he accused of "mistreatment":
Ozil addressed his meeting with controversial leader Erdogan—which Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan also attended—and how his Turkish ancestry made it OK. He said he felt the German media and members of the DFB were far from accepting.
Germany followed the trend of World Cup champions to fall at the first hurdle of their title defence in Russia. They exited this summer's tournament after a 2-0 defeat to South Korea in their final match saw them finish bottom of Group F.
The Gunners star departs the national team having played a prominent role in their run to the 2014 World Cup title, which now appears likely to be the crowning achievement in his international tenure.
German journalist Raphael Honigstein told TalkSport's Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast show that Ozil could return to the fold if Grindel were to step down and touched on the "toxic" environment surrounding Germany at present:
Hoeness' comments hardly serve to mend broken bridges, and one thing that now seems certain is Bayern will never make a move to recruit Ozil as long as the 66-year-old is in the president's chair.
As commentator Kevin Hatchard noted, Hoeness may have inadvertently supported Ozil in his plight after revealing another nasty aspect to Germany's football hierarchy:
Kevin Hatchard 🎙⚽️ @kevinhatchard
@baba_jasmine @MikkyMo73 The abuse from far-right groups isn't a surprise, but it's seeped into mainstream media in Germany too, and if he no longer feels supported by the DFB, I can understand why he's walking away. Hoeness' comments today indicative of unfair sentiment towards him.
Ozil was highlighted as a weak point in manager Joachim Low's side at the time of their World Cup exit, but the entire team were not at their best.
Yet while the Arsenal star felt he was persecuted, Low was given assurances over his future with the team, per Sky Sports:
Hoeness has moved on quickly from a player who had a large hand in Germany's 2014 World Cup triumph as the fallout from a disastrous campaign in Russia continues to set off sparks.