Real Madrid star Toni Kroos has branded Mesut Ozil’s recent claims of racism in the German national team set-up as “nonsense”.
Ozil cited perceived racism as a significant factor in his decision to retire from international duty after Germany’s disastrous World Cup.
The Arsenal playmaker stated in no uncertain terms that he “will no longer be playing for Germany at international level while I have this feeling of racism and disrespect”.
Former Germany teammate Kroos has scoffed at those claims, however.
“The proportion that is well and properly addressed in [Ozil’s] statement is unfortunately overshadowed by the much higher proportion of nonsense,” the Real Madrid star told Bild.
“I think that he knows that racism does not exist within the national team and the DFB.
“On the contrary, we are always committed to diversity and integration. Mesut was a good example, as many of our fellow players [were].
“Mesut was criticized for the photo – and rightly so.
“And he missed the chance to explain himself. Nevertheless, he was absolutely supported by the athletic leadership and the team.
“Later he was – as others were also – criticized for the performance at the World Cup. The type of criticism was certainly not always at a good level – but you have to go through [that] as a player.”