Mesut Ozil avoids talk of Germany retirement on Arsenal’s pre-season tour

Mesut Oil looked relaxed as he trained in Singapore after announcing his retirement from international football
Updated 03 August 2018
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Mesut Ozil avoids talk of Germany retirement on Arsenal’s pre-season tour

  • Midfield star quit international football after being on the end of a barrage of criticism.
  • He hit out at the German FA over perceived racist criticism.

Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil avoided any talk of the controversy surrounding his retirement from international football as the German midfielder opted to focus on the club’s pre-season friendly tournament in Singapore on Wednesday.
The 29-year-old quit the national side on Sunday citing “racism and disrespect” due to his Turkish roots as key to the decision after he was singled out for criticism when Germany bombed out of the recent World Cup in the group stages.
Making his first public appearance since his retirement statement triggered a bad-tempered debate in Germany about relations with its largest immigrant community, Ozil was all smiles at a fan event in Singapore.
“It’s very exciting to be in Singapore. It’s our second time here and we really enjoy coming,” he told a gathering of Arsenal fans a day ahead of a friendly against Atletico Madrid at the National Stadium. They also play Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday.
“We are expecting good matches against PSG and Atletico Madrid. They are great teams with great players, it’s a test for us to get ready for the new season, so it’s something to look forward to.”
Ozil was also criticized for meeting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May, where the pair were photographed holding up an Arsenal shirt, and he has yet to comment on his retirement since he announced it through social media.
Arsenal forward Reiss Nelson and midfielder Alex Iwobi sat alongside Ozil at the fan event in Singapore with the former admitting new coach Unai Emery had been very active in his first few training sessions with the club.
“Training has been good and Emery has been a major influence to what we are doing on the training ground,” the 18-year-old England youth international said.
“He’s looking to bring through the young players as well... pushing them, so they will have a feeling they can shine under the new coach.”
Spaniard Emery, who has also managed Valencia, Sevilla and PSG, was brought in to replace Arsene Wenger after the Frenchman ended his almost 22-year tenure at the helm of the North London club at the conclusion of last season.
Arsenal open the new Premier League campaign with a home fixture against champions Manchester City on Aug. 12.


Amir Khan says agreement made for Manny Pacquiao Riyadh bout in November

Updated 40 min 7 sec ago
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Amir Khan says agreement made for Manny Pacquiao Riyadh bout in November

  • The two boxers came close to a fight in 2017, but negotiations fell through
  • The two boxers are known to be good friends and spent years sparring with each in the US

LONDON: British boxer Amir Khan said on Tuesday that a deal has been agreed for a fight against Manny Pacquiao on November 8 in Saudi Arabia.
Speaking at his gym in the British city of Bolton the former world champion said the fight would happen in Riyadh, adding that the bout had been “signed by both parties.”
Pacquiao, 40, has a scheduled fight with American Keith Thurman in Las Vegas on Saturday and, barring any potential rematch, would be available to fight Khan in the Kingdom.
“It’s on, unless he gets injured or he says he is going to retire after the fight and then the fight won’t happen, but he is interested in the fight as well,” Khan told Boxing Social.
The two boxers came close to a fight in 2017, but negotiations fell through and the bout never materialized.

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READ MORE: Amir Khan beats Billy Dib in Jeddah on ‘fight night of the year’

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“It is going to be amazing, because it’s been a long time we’ve been chasing that fight. I’ve been chasing the big names like (Floyd) Mayweather and Pacquiao for a long, long time but those fights never happened.
“But now it has come to a stage where we both signed on that dotted line, so hopefully he is going to be the next (fight).
“To have him sign that dotted line is brilliant and no matter how he does against Thurman, I still think it’s a big fight.
“Hopefully he comes out of it in one piece in his next fight against Keith, which is a hard fight and not an easy one for him, and we will take it from there.”
The British boxer, 32, scored a stoppage win over Australia’s Billy Dib in Saudi Arabia last Friday and soon after his win was talking up the prospect of landing Pacquiao as his next fight.

Eight-division world champion boxer Manny Pacquiao smiles as he arrives for a workout in Hollywood, California on July 10. (AFP/File Photo)

On the prospect of returning to Saudi Arabia, Khan said his experience in the Dib fight had been “amazing” and that it was hard to turn down a deal to fight in the Kingdom.
“I was little bit nervous, because I did not know what to expect — whether it would be full or not, or if people would turn up to support — but it was amazing. I think the next one is going to be even bigger.
“The experience was awesome, I was looked after by the GSA (General Sports Authority) and the Saudi government took good care of us, the gyms were amazing. I would love to go back over there.”
When asked if he ever doubted whether his dream fight against Pacquiao would happen, Khan agreed.
“I’ve waited so long but you cannot really put all your eggs in one basket, and definitely say this is going to be the next fight.

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READ MORE: Gloves off as world champion boxer Amir Khan dreams of ‘more fights in Saudi Arabia’

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“I hope it is him but we will have to look at back up plans. I’ve always wanted to fight him. It’s the biggest fight out there for me,” he told the BBC.
The two boxers are known to be good friends and spent years sparring with each in the US while training under the mentorship of trainer Freddie Roach.
The Filipino legend has not yet officially announced any bout with Khan and on social media appears focused on Saturday’s fight.
“When I sparred him he was at his peak,” Khan said. “I got good rounds with him and did really well. I have probably sparred between 200 and 300 rounds with him. He has slowed down a bit.”
Pacquiao has 61 wins, seven defeats and two draws in a 24-year professional career, while Khan has 34 wins and five defeats.