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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 21 August 2018

Mesut Ozil thanks Arsenal fans for their 'love' after racism row with German FA

The midfielder is in Singapore as part of the Premier League club's pre-season preparations for new season

Mesut Ozil was a spectator for Arsenal's friendly with Atletico Madrid in Singapore on Thursday. Getty Images
Mesut Ozil was a spectator for Arsenal's friendly with Atletico Madrid in Singapore on Thursday. Getty Images

Mesut Ozil thanked Arsenal fans for their "love" at a pre-season friendly after a torrid week following his racism allegations against Germany's football body.

Ozil watched Arsenal's penalties defeat to Atletico Madrid on Thursday from the bench but he received one of the biggest cheers 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.

Arsenal fans dominated the audience of 23,000 who watched the London team go down 3-1 on penalties to Atletico in the International Champions Cup, after normal time ended at 1-1.

Ozil, benched after his late return to training following the World Cup, 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 strongman president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Ozil, who was born in Germany to Turkish-origin parents and lifted the World Cup in 2014, also felt he was unfairly singled out for their shock group-stage exit at this year's tournament.

A post shared by Arsenal Official (@arsenal) on

Arsenal's new manager, Unai Emery, and players have rallied round Ozil on their pre-season tour, while the hashtags #StandWithOzil and #SayNoToRacism have been popular on social media.

"Of course everybody supports Mesut. We're with him, we're trying to help him," Arsenal midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan said this week.

"Everyone knows that Arsenal is a team with a lot of foreign players and foreign employees. It doesn't matter which country you represent, it's like family and we support each other."

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Read more

German FA chief Reinhard Grindel 'firmly rejects' Mesut Ozil's racism claims but regrets lack of support

Mesut Ozil has respect of every player, says Arsenal manager Unai Emery

Ozil retirement takes Low by surprise but leaves Matthaus disdainful

German FA 'very grateful' for Ozil's contribution but reject claims of racism

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