Ozil: I can handle Turkish whistles
Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil is not afraid of being jeered by Turkey fans in Friday's UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying match between the two teams. Ozil was born in the German city of Gelsenkirchen and, despite coming from a Turkish family, he chose to represent the country of his birth despite attempts by Turkey to lure him into their national team.
The 22-year-old will play an international fixture in Istanbul for the first time this week, but intends to treat it just like any other. "It is possible that people whistle, but that does not affect me," he told Kicker magazine. "I can deal with such situations professionally and block it out."
Ozil scored for Germany against Turkey in Berlin almost a year ago, but out of respect for his relatives he did not celebrate. That did not stop the Turkey fans from hurling abuse at him, but Ozil suspects that deep down they actually respect what he has achieved.
"I think that the Turks are proud of me," he said. "They are proud to have a regular at Real Madrid. "I have experienced the respect that they have shown for that and many people accept and respect my decision to play for Germany."
Nevertheless, Ozil will not be offering Turkey any gifts on Friday as he hopes to lead Germany through the qualifying stage without dropping a point. "We want to remain unbeaten; that is the aim that we all have," he said.
Ozil should be fit to play on Friday and against Belgium in Dusseldorf four days later, despite being removed from Real Madrid's 4-0 win over Espanyol last night with an ankle injury. None of Germany coach Joachim Low's 24-man squad have been forced to pull out due to injury.