Mesut Ozil hammers critics of Cristiano Ronaldo as he claims ‘pundits who don’t have a career anymore’ just want attention, insisting Portugal striker has been world class for 20 years and must be respected
After having his Manchester United contract terminated by mutual consent last month, Ronaldo fell out with national team coach Fernando Santos and was dropped for their World Cup clash against Switzerland.
The 37-year-old has come under fire from managers, fans and pundits alike for his recent actions but Ozil has defended his former team-mate and claimed Ronaldo’s critics ‘just want to get attention’.
Cristiano Ronaldo has received criticism from managers, fans and pundits in recent weeks
Mesut Ozil (middle) jumped to the defence of his former Madrid team-mate on social media
In a post on social media, Ozil wrote: ‘I really don’t get where this constant negativity from the press about Cristiano comes from… The Media is just trying to get clicks, and pundits who don’t have a career anymore just want to get attention with his big name and try to make him look bad…
‘He is soon 38 years old – so what’s the surprise that he doesn’t score 50 goals a season anymore? Every football fan out there should be happy to have seen him playing world class football for 20 years
‘I don’t think anyone from the new generation will be able to match his numbers again. He will forever be in his own category. Everyone should show more respect to one of the greatest athletes in sports history.’
Ozil – who currently plays for Turkish side İstanbul Başakşehir – spent four years playing with Ronaldo before joining Arsenal in 2013.
The duo spent four years together before the German playmaker joined Arsenal in 2013
Ronaldo’s first controversy came when he appeared in a tell-all interview with Piers Morgan blasting the current standard – on and off the pitch – at Manchester United.
Shortly after, the club confirmed that Ronaldo’s contract had been terminated by mutual consent and that the 37-year-old had become a free agent.
The forward chose to focus on helping Portugal’s World Cup campaign but that dream seems to be crashing down around him after falling out with Santos.
The five-time Ballon d’or Winner was substituted midway through his side’s 2-1 group stage defeat to South Korea and Portugal boss Santos is said to be upset with Ronaldo’s reaction.
It resulted in the former Real Madrid forward being dropped to the bench for the clash against Switzerland – though Santos insists the decision was purely tactical.
Portugal boss Fernando Santos has called for star player Cristiano Ronaldo to be left ‘alone’
There had even been reports recently that Ronaldo wanted to leave Portugal’s World Cup training camp after being dropped for their last-16 clash – but national coach Santos has denied this.
In a press conference prior to their clash with Morocco on Saturday, Santos said: ‘He never told me he wanted to leave. It’s time to finish this and stop. He left the dressing room against Switzerland, warmed up, went out for a run to celebrate the goals with his teammates.
‘He called his teammates to thank them for their effort but he came out and left. He marched alone. Let’s leave Cristiano Ronaldo alone.’
The forward will be hoping to get another opportunity to start for his national side when they take on Morocco in their quarter-final clash on Sunday afternoon.
Santos jumped to the defence of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner in a recent press conference
Ozil, meanwhile, has been plying his trade in Turkey for the past three years after leaving Arsenal in 2020.
After spent two years with high-flyers Fenerbahçe where he made 37 appearances and scored nine goals before joining current club İstanbul Başakşehir.
Though he’s long been retired from international football, Ozil’s face has appeared multiple times at the Qatar World Cup after Qatari fans accused Germany of hypocrisy.
Former Arsenal star Ozil has made just one appearance for İstanbul Başakşehir this season