The midfielder’s international retirement has prompted heated debates, and his former team-mate insists racism is not an issue in the team

Thomas Muller is adamant racism has never been a problem in Germany’s national team despite Mesut Ozil’s perceived persecution, with the Bayern Munich forward also having a pop at the “hypocritical” media.

Ozil announced his retirement from international football in July after growing tired of what he felt was racist treatment on behalf of the German Football Federation (DFB), supporters and even some politicians in the wake of his and Ilkay Gundogan’s meeting with controversial Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The Arsenal playmaker, who is of Turkish heritage, was particularly scathing of the DFB and its president, Reinhard Grindel, accusing him of belittling his opinion and being patronising.

Grindel had called for Ozil to explain his decision to pose with Erdogan, while DFB manager Oliver Bierhoff said the national team should have considered leaving him out of the squad for the World Cup as he felt the incident could have affected their campaign. 

Ozil also felt as though he had been scapegoated by the DFB following Germany’s shock World Cup exit in the group stage.

The discussion of the topic continues as the new season approaches, and Muller is the latest to be asked about it.

Rather than opting to back Ozil, the attacker decided to accuse the media of being hypocrites who would not let the initial story fade away.

“The whole discussion was fired up by outsiders,” Muller said at a news conference on Friday ahead of Sunday’s friendly clash with Manchester United.

“Of course, the protagonists of that matter acted a little bit unfortunately, both the executives of the DFB and the players.

“But, actually, this debate is hypocritical from the media’s side. Because of the debate, the media gets circulation.

“The DFB wanted to have peace with it, calm it, but the media always asked, again and again. The discussion was made bigger than it was and now you see what you get from that.

“For the sales numbers, of course, this is great, because now you still get to ask about it.

“For us players, I think the whole issue never was as big as it was made out to be, but of course we got confronted by it and we still do.

“So now we finally should end that debate and concentrate on football, because racism inside the national team never was an issue.”

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