London :Mesut Ozil’s decision to quit playing for Germany unleashed a racism storm in Berlin , but earned the applause of Ankara with a Turkish minister hailing “a goal against the virus of fascism”.
After months of silence over a controversial photograph with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May, which sparked questions about his loyalty to Germany, Ozil erupted on Sunday.
The Arsenal midfielder posted a stinging four-page statement taking aim at German Football Association (DFB) bosses, sponsors and the media.
Ozil, a key member of the squad which won the 2014 World Cup, blamed the DFB management, in particular its president Reinhard Grindel, for failing to side with him against his critics.
“In the eyes of Grindel and his supporters, I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose,” Ozil wrote.
The 29-year-old said he was true to both his Turkish and German origins and insisted he did not intend to make a political statement by appearing with Erdogan just before the World Cup finals.
“I have two hearts, one German and one Turkish,” said Ozil, who has been repeatedly singled out for criticism after Germany’s woeful performance at the World Cup saw them crash out after the group stages.
Ozil’s explosive statement, in three separate postings on Twitter and Instagram, was hailed by the Turkish government of Erdogan, who has championed a campaign against what Ankara sees as growing Islamophobia in Europe.
“I congratulate Mesut Ozil who by leaving the national team has scored the most beautiful goal against the virus of fascism,” Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul wrote on Twitter.
But it was met with a mix of dismay and outrage in Germany.
Justice Minister Katarina Barley wrote on Twitter that it was an “alarm sign if a great, German footballer like Mesut Ozil no longer feels wanted in his country or represented by the DFB”.
Messi the best in history : Puyol
London: Barca defeated Manchester United comprehensively in the Champions League quarter-finals with Messi scoring twice in the second leg at Camp Nou. He is top scorer in the competition this season with 10 goals and also tops the scoring charts in La Liga, where Barca are virtually assured of a second consecutive title.
Puyol, the ex-Barca captain who won three Champions League titles, praises Messi as a true leader in Ernesto Valverde’s side.
“He is playing at an incredible level,” Puyol told Goal at the UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour Presented by Heineken in Lagos, Nigeria.
“For me, he is the best ever player in the history of the game.
“He has shown that season after season and you can see how his game has evolved, all the things he now does. And you can see he’s improving every year with new attributes he has brought to his game.
“He has improved in every way and he is taking a step forward on a personal level. He has always been a leader on the field but now, you can see that he is a leader on and off the pitch.
“He is an introverted person but now you can see that he is leading from the front as the captain of Barcelona.”
Messi has scored an incredible 45 goals in 42 games in all competitions for Barca this season, and has added another 21 assists. They are nine points clear of Atletico Madrid in the league, with only 18 left to play for, and are now favourites to add another Champions League to their collection with a double header against Liverpool in the semi-finals to come.
“It’s been very good in the Champions League and also in all the other competitions,” said Puyol.
“They’re playing really good football and they have the chance of winning everything. Right now it’s great because the best is yet to come this season.
“Barcelona are one of the favourites for the Champions League because there are only four teams left.
PCB decides not to allow cricketers to take their families along during the WC
Islamabad: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has decided to not allow the national team’s players to bring their families along on the upcoming 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup in England and Wales starting on May 30.
The decision has been taken keeping in mind the pressure of the tournament, the board said while adding that the focus of the payers should be on their game during the World Cup.
The board, has mentioned that players’ families can travel to England on their own expense.
Additionally, the board clarified that the players could keep their families along with them during the series against England prior to the World Cup, a private news channel reported.
The cricket team will travel to England on April 23 to participate in the two and a half month long tour including the series against England and the World Cup.
Chief Selector Inzamamul Haq announced Pakistan’s 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup squad which left out experienced fast bowler Mohammad Amir.
Pandya, KL Rahul fined Rs 20 lakh each by BCCI Ombudsman
Mumbai: Indian cricketers Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul were on Saturday handed a fine of Rs 20 lakh each by Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Ombudsman Justice (Retd) D K Jain for their sexist remarks in a television chat show “Koffee with Karan”.
The BCCI Ombudsman directed the duo to pay Rs 1,00,000 each to the families of 10 constables in para-military forces who have lost their lives while on duty through ‘Bharat Ke Veer App”.
Pandya and Rahul have also been directed to pay Rs 10 lakh each in the fund created by Cricket Association for the Blind (CAB) and for promotion of game for the blind.
All payments need to be made within a month from the date of the order, the BCCI Ombudsman further said.
Jain also instructed that in case the duo fails to deposit the fine within the deadline, the amounts would be deducted from Pandya and Rahul’s match fees by the BCCI.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court-appointed BCCI Ombudsman had summoned Pandya and Rahul for deposition over their controversial remarks on the celebrity chat show.
The two players were earlier in January provisionally suspended by the apex court-appointed Committee of Administrators (COA) for their loose talk on the show.
However, Pandya and Rahul tendered unconditional apologies and the ban on the duo was provisionally lifted pending an inquiry by the BCCI Ombudsman.