German footballer Mesut Ozil announced his retirement from the international team on Sunday citing racial profiling by German FA officials after he shared a picture of him meeting Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan on social media, in May.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday expressed her respect for Mesut Ozil's decision to no longer act for the country's national team. She, however, avoided commenting on allegations of racism made by the player against the German Football Association (DFB).

"The federal chancellor respects the decision of Mesut Ozil, and has great regard for him as a football player," Deputy Government spokesman Ulrike Demmer said in a statement. The government source spoke on the importance of football as a means of integration of German society and insisted that the country is open and welcomes the population of immigrant origin.

Ozil announced on Sunday, by social networks, that he will no longer play for Germany's national team. The 29-year-old midfielder said he was discriminated by the DFB after his meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May.

The Arsenal player was part of the German squad that was eliminated early in the World Cup in Russia. He was one of the main targets of criticism both for his performances and for his meeting with Erdogan, accused of human rights violations. On the occasion, Ozil published a photo with the Turkish politician, which was interpreted with political connotation by the entity that governs the German soccer.

Germany’s justice minister, Katarina Barley, has expressed concern about the reasons for Ozil’s early retirement. "It is an alarming signal that a great player like Ozil does not feel loved in his country nor represented by the DFB," she wrote in her Twitter account.

The DFB issued a statement Monday to comment on Ozil's decision. In it says, that the governing body respects the option of the player to retire from the German national team, but denies that it has supported any discriminatory act.

"We reject the fact that the DFB is associated with racism." For many years, the DFB was heavily involved in Germany's integration work, and participated in campaigns to support immigrants and integrated tens of thousands of refugees into the football family. DFB regrets Mesut Ozil's departure from the national team, however, this does not change the association's determination to continue the successful integration work consistently and with deep conviction, " it read.

In the letter justifying his retirement from the national team, Ozil also specifically attacked DFB president Reinhard Grindel. "In the eyes of Grindel and his supporters I am German if we win, but when we lose I am an immigrant," he wrote.

Ozil's decision to retire from international football as a result of feeling persecuted by the German Football Federation (DFB) has left their former president Theo Zwanziger "deeply saddened".

Although Zwanziger, who was outright president from 2007 to 2012 having previously served as a co-president, defended Grindel, he expressed sympathy for Ozil and understands the measures he has taken.

"I am deeply saddened by the decision made by Mesut Ozil," Zwanziger told Deutschen Presse-Agentur. "It's a major setback for the integration efforts in our country beyond the football.

"Due to errors in communication, something has happened that must never happen to migrants and they must never feel like second-class German citizens. If this impression arises, you have to take counter-measures. I know Reinhard Grindel and Oliver Bierhoff well enough to say that I cannot imagine that they would consciously bring about such a situation."

On the other side, Several Turkish ministers celebrated the decision of the Turkish footballer of Turkish origin Mesut Ozil to leave the German football team. "I congratulate Mesut Ozil who, when leaving the German national team, scored his best goal against the virus of fascism," Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul. Sports Minister Mehmet Kasapoglu said on Twitter that he "fully supports the honored position of our brother Mesut Ozil."