BERLIN – The father of Mesut Ozil said Sunday his son should quit Germany's national squad after he was "made the scapegoat" for Die Mannschaft's shock first-round defeat at the World Cup.
Ozil, 29, has come in for hefty criticism in Germany after the World Champions crashed out in Russia, finishing bottom of their group.
Pressure had already been mounting on the Arsenal midfielder in the World Cup run-up over a controversial photograph with Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that was seized on to question his loyalty to Germany.
On Thursday, Germany's team boss Oliver Bierhoff sparked a new round of outcry over a statement suggesting Ozil, who has Turkish roots, should have been dropped after his failure to publicly clear up the Erdogan meeting.
"This statement is insolent. In my opinion, it is aimed at saving one's own skin," said the mid-fielder's father Mustafa Ozil in an interview with Bild am Sonntag.