German football player Mesut Ozil has quit international football, citing the “racism and disrespect” he has faced in Germany over his Turkish roots. However, the Arsenal midfielder is not the only footballer who suffered racism in his own country.
5. Mario Balotelli
Banner reads: “ my captain is of Italian blood!” Balo responds: “ we are in 2018 guys, enough! Wake up! Please!” pic.twitter.com/T30xHwBqK0
— Wayne Girard (@WayneinRome) May 29, 2018
One of the most targeted with racism posts, super Mario was targeted again earlier this year. Balotelli is expected to be in contention for a vice-captaincy role in the absence of Daniele De Rossi and Gianluigi Buffon after the pair of World Cup winners recently retired from international football.
However, the slogan “My captain is of Italian blood” in Italian was draped on a pitch-side wall during Italy’s 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia in May. On his Instagram account, Balotelli posted an image of the banner, adding his own message: “We are in 2018 guys. Wake up!”
4. Mesut Ozil
"I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose".
Mesut Ozil has retired from international football due to disrespect and racial discrimination. pic.twitter.com/BhtVvMgQTf
— Juan Velazquez (@JuanDirection58) July 22, 2018
The 29-year-old was criticised after being photographed with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a London event in May. He says he received hate mail and threats and was being blamed for Germany’s disappointing World Cup.
“I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose,” Ozil said. German football chiefs have yet to respond to Ozil’s claims.
3. Romelu Lukaku
"When things were going well, I was reading newspapers articles and they were calling me Romelu Lukaku, the Belgian striker.
"When things weren’t going well, they were calling me Romelu Lukaku, the Belgian striker of Congolese descent."https://t.co/ViJdSOzkye
— vic sanusi. (@victoriasanusi) June 22, 2018
Lukaku’s quotes say it all. “When things were going well, I was reading newspapers articles and they were calling me Romelu Lukaku, the Belgian striker. When things weren’t going well, they were calling me Romelu Lukaku, the Belgian striker of Congolese descent.
“If you don’t like the way I play, that’s fine. But I was born here. I grew up in Antwerp, and Liège and Brussels. I’m Belgian. We’re all Belgian. That’s what makes this country cool, right?”
“I don’t know why some people in my own country want to see me fail. I really don’t. When I went to Chelsea and I wasn’t playing, I heard them laughing at me. When I got loaned out to West Brom, I heard them laughing at me.”