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Özil’s agent takes aim at Müller, Neuer, and Kroos

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Unable to move on from Germany’s World Cup failure and the subsequent aftermath, Mesut Özil’s agent, Erkut Sögüt, took aim at several prominent Germany players.

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In more from the story that will never end, Erkut Sögüt, the agent for Mesut Özil, lashed out at Thomas Müller, Manuel Neuer, and Toni Kroos as captured by The Guardian.

Mesut Özil’s agent has hit out at Germany’s Manuel Neuer, Thomas Müller and Toni Kroos over comments they made in the wake of the Arsenal midfielder’s decision to quit international football.

Erkut Sögüt said the trio were either “naive or scheming” in their responses to the statement Özil issued in July to announce he would no longer be playing for Germany. The agent also strongly defended his client for being photographed with Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Sögüt is perhaps pushing the envelope with his accusations, especially when intimating that the players my be “scheming,” but went on to try and justify his claims:

Sögüt, speaking to the German magazine 11Freunde, said: “Neuer indirectly accused Mesut of not having worn the German jersey with pride. This is unacceptable. Müller did not understand the whole discussion. And Kroos, as a seasoned national team player, should explain what he means by ‘nonsense’.”

The agent described the three players’ remarks as “more than disappointing — and also out of place” and added: “There are only two explanations: they are either naive or scheming.”

Sögüt also went after Joachim Löw, claiming that German manager and players ignored the real issue and focused on reiterating that there was no racism internally on the Die Mannschaft squad, instead of focusing on the treatment from greater German society.

Müller had said that for Germany’s players “the whole issue never was as big as it was made out to be” by the media and that racism in the squad was “absolutely out of the question.” Neuer, Kroos and Germany’s manager, Joachim Löw, have also stated that there was no racist behavior in the team. Sögüt said: “Löw defends himself against an accusation that has never actually been made: Mesut has not been racially abused from within the team but from the midst of German society. The German football association should have been more protective in this case.”

The most fascinating part of the piece dealt with ill-fated meeting with Erdoğan. Sögüt talked through the decision-making process of how it went down:

Sögüt was speaking publicly on the issue for the first time since Özil was pictured with Erdoğan last May, sparking a wave of criticism of the player, who was then widely attacked for his performances during Germany’s failed World Cup campaign. During the tournament racist comments regarding Özil were made via social media.

“Mesut did not make any mistakes,” the agent said of Özil’s meeting with Erdoğan. “That’s how it stays. It is just a matter of respect and courtesy to agree to meet the president of Turkey when he requests it. The two of them have met regularly over the past eight years. It has never been a problem before for the German public.”

In respect of Erdoğan’s changed politics over those eight years and the tense relationship that now exists between Germany and Turkey, Sögüt said: “Should we tell Mesut: ‘You cannot meet with the president — but maybe in two months’ time’? That really does not make any sense.”

Sögüt denied having talked Özil into attending the meeting or attempting to dissuade him from going. “Why should I? Mesut is old enough, he knows what he is doing. And he has known the president far longer than he knows me.”