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Hoeness says Özil is using the Erdogan scandal to hide his poor performances

Bayern Munich’s president declared that Mesut Özil has “played like crap” for years, and he welcomes the player’s decision to quit.

FC Bayern Muenchen v VfB Stuttgart - Bundesliga
MUNICH, GERMANY - MAY 12: President Uli Hoeness of Muenchen looks on prior to the Bundesliga match between FC Bayern Muenchen and VfB Stuttgart at Allianz Arena on May 12, 2018 in Munich, Germany. Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images

In public remarks reported by German outlets Sport 1 and Sport Bild, Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeneß welcomed Mesut Özil’s resignation from the German national team with harsh criticism of the controversial player’s contributions. Shortly before departing with Bayern Munich on their tour of the USA, Hoeneß alleged that Özil is using his poor treatment by the DFB as a screen for his own poor performances (Sport1):

That is great for the German national team for competitive reasons. In my view, Özil has been MIA for years. He’s [resigning] on the pretense of his allegedly poor treatment by the DFB, but he should ask himself when the last time he won a one-on-one was. It’s been years.

Hoeneß doubled down on the idea in a followup statement, claiming that Özil is using the Erdogan scandal to deflect blame from his performances to DFB President Reinhard Grindel or national team manager Oliver Biefhoff:

For the new beginning, it’s super that he’s now finally quitting. Already at the World Cup 2014, he was no more than a fellow traveler and not far from being cut. The others [on the team] pulled him through the final. Now he’s hidden himself nicely behind the Erdogan story. He’s played like crap for years and now Grindel or Bierhoff are supposed to be to blame.

SportBild’s Tobias Altschäffl reported further comments via Twitter (here, here, and here and now also on SportBild itself) in which Hoeneß expressed himself even more bluntly:

I’m glad the fuss is over. He’s played like crap for years. The last one-on-one he won was before the World Cup 2014. And now he’s hiding himself and his shit performance behind this photo.

Hoeneß reinforced his withering opinion of Özil’s abilities by alleging that Bayern Munich always targeted him in games against Arsenal. “Always when we played against Arsenal,” Hoeness said, “we targeted him, because we knew that is their weak point.” And Hoeneß even questioned the existence of Özil’s fans and their knowledge of soccer, saying, “His 35 million fanboys — who of course don’t exist in the real world — get worked up that Özil has played amazingly when he successfully makes a cross to his target.”

Speaking more broadly, Hoeneß framed his harsh criticism of Özil’s ability as a player as a reductionist answer to the toxic political atmosphere in Germany and the DFB highlighted by Özil’s allegations of racism:

The development in our country is a disaster. You have to reduce it back to what it is: sports. And in sports terms, Özil had no business being on the national team for years!

It would thus appear that, in the view of Bayern Munich’s president, Özil’s widely reported statement has no basis in reality but instead is something of a preemptive strike to cover his imminent dismissal from the team on account of his ineffective play.

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