Germany’s World Cup-winning midfielder Mesut Ozil announced his retirement from football at the age of 34 on Wednesday.
The former Real Madrid and Arsenal player was a key member of Germany’s World Cup-winning side in Brazil in 2014.
He retired from the squad in 2018 amid a political debate in Germany about an influx of migrants and after backlash over a photograph taken with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, saying he faced “racism and disrespect” over his Turkish ancestry.
“I’ve had the privilege to be a professional football player for almost 17 years now and I feel incredibly thankful for the opportunity,” Ozil, who most recently played for Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir, said in a statement on Instagram.
“But in recent weeks and months, having also suffered some injuries, it’s become more and more clear that it’s time to leave the big stage of football.”