The animosity directed toward the Germany star has been disproportionate and unbalanced, the Liverpool manager has said
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp feels the controversy surrounding Mesut Ozil and Ilkay Gundogan’s photograph with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been blown out of proportion.
Arsenal playmaker Ozil and Manchester City midfielder Gundogan posed for a picture with the authoritarian leader during his visit to London in May, prompting a storm of criticism that overshadowed Germany’s preparations for the World Cup in Russia.
After the holders crashed out of the tournament in the group stage, Ozil announced his retirement from international duty, amid accusations of discrimination and racism regarding his Turkish heritage.
Some prominent figures in German football have dismissed the 29-year-old’s concerns out of hand, and the issue remains a cause of heated debate early in the 2018-19 season.
Liverpool boss Klopp, who coached Gundogan at Borussia Dortmund, told Sport1 he believes much of the discourse surrounding the divisive subject is hypocritical.
“This is a classic example of absolute misinformation and, of course, complete nonsense,” he said.
“In politics, little things have always been blown up and big things pushed away in order to continue.
“Normally, intelligent people tend to hold back because it is not easy to say the right thing. I would count myself [among those people] too. All those who have no idea are very loud in these conversations.
“I do not doubt these guys, at least about their loyalty to our homeland. The difference is that they just have one more thing [in their heritage]. Where is the problem? That’s beautiful.
“Cultural diversity, we all thought it was really cool around the 2006 World Cup. I saw these fantastic commercials where the parents of Gerald Asamoah and Mario Gomez had a barbecue party together.
“And now two guys are seduced by politically quite intelligent people to have a photo, and then have relatively few opportunities to say what they want 100 per cent right.
“That’s why I find this discussion hypocritical. Bad things happened because people were not informed properly. Even the media should not create a buzz around something like this every day. Just cool off and see the people behind it.”