Print Edition - 2018-08-18 | Sports
Controversial Gundogan wants to keep playing for Germany
Aug 18, 2018-
Ilkay Gundogan has said he wants to keep playing for Germany and not follow Mesut Ozil into retirement, despite the furore over their controversial pre-World Cup meeting with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“Winning the Champions League and at least a title with the national side,” the Manchester City midfielder wrote on Instagram when asked by a fan about his dreams for the future. Gundogan, 27, joins Toni Kroos, 28, and Sami Khedira, 31, in declaring a desire to keep playing for the national team and make amends for Germany’s disastrous early World Cup exit last month.
On the eve of the tournament, Gundogan and Ozil, who were both born in Germany to Turkish parents, found themselves at the centre of a political storm after meeting Erdogan in London. The Premier League stars posed for pictures with the Turkish leader in May, ahead of his successful re-election campaign, and Gundogan presented Erdogan with a Manchester City signed “to my president”.
The meeting raised questions about the pair’s loyalty to Germany and sparked fierce debate on the eve of the World Cup about integration in Germany. While Ozil initially stayed silent on the topic, Gundogan said the meeting with Erdogan was not politically motivated, but the pair were booed by fans in pre-World Cup friendlies.
Gundogan reportedly wept in the Germany dressing room after being booed when he appeared as a substitute in a 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia before the squad flew to Russia in June. Like most of the Germany squad, Ozil and Gundogan struggled in Russia as the 2014 World Cup winners bowed out after finishing bottom of their group.
In the wake of the debacle, Arsenal midfielder Ozil, 29, broke his silence by retiring from the international team on July 22 in a scathing three-page statement which accused Reinhard Grindel, the German FA (DFB) president, of racism. After their World Cup campaign, Germany head coach Joachim Loew has promised sweeping changes when he names his squad for the Nations League match against France on September 6 in Munich and the friendly against Peru three days later.
Published: 18-08-2018 09:00