Mesut Ozil has thanked Arsenal fans for all their “love” following a torrid week that saw him quit international football with Germany.
Ozil watched Arsenal’s penalty defeat to Atletico Madrid in the International Champions Cup from the bench on Thursday, but received the biggest cheer of the night when his image was flashed up on the big screen
“Thanks to the Gunners in Singapore for showing so much love tonight,” the 29-year-old German midfielder tweeted, with a picture of him waving to the crowd in Singapore.
Ozil sent shockwaves through German football when he quit the national team, complaining of “racism and disrespect”.
German football chief Reinhard Grindel rejected the racism charge but admitted he should have defended Ozil after the playmaker was abused for having a photograph taken with Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Ozil, who was born in Germany to Turkish parents and lifted the World Cup in 2014, felt he was unfairly singled out for their shock group-stage exit at this year’s tournament.
Arsenal’s new head coach, Unai Emery, and players have all rallied round Ozil on their pre-season tour, with hashtags #StandWithOzil and #SayNoToRacism all popular on social media.