By 90Min
August 29, 2018

Germany manager Joachim Low has claimed he "tried in vain" to contact Mesut Ozil to discuss the racism allegations which saw him take an early retirement from international duty.

Ozil, 29, announced last month that he would not play for Germany again, citing racism from the media and from senior figures in German football.

Low says that he had tried without success to contact the Arsenal man, who he claimed had exaggerated his allegations.

"I have repeatedly tried in vain to reach him," Low said, quoted by Sky Sports News. "He has clearly overstated his allegations of racism," the Germany manager added, quoted by Goal.

The controversy arose when Ozil and his German teammate Ilkay Gundogan were photographed with Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a reception in London in May.

Low admits that he did not fully realise how much the situation would affect the German team, as they crashed out at the group stage of the 2018 World Cup.

"I think we underestimated the situation with the photos, I too underestimated it," he explained. "I thought, when the two were at Steinmeier, that we could concentrate on the World Cup. 

Handout/GettyImages

"This theme has also cost strength. For me it was clear that I picked Mesut Özil for sporting reasons."

Low, who has been in charge of Germany for 12 years and was assistant to Jurgen Klinsmann for two years before that, claims that he has never seen any racism in the German team.

"There was never any kind of racism," he said. "Throughout the time I was at the DFB, there has never been an approach of racist comments in our team. Mesut and Ilkay have always identified with the values of the national team."

Low named his first squad since the World Cup on Wednesday, with a recall for Leroy Sane the headline news.

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