Toni Kroos labelled Mesut Ozil's racism allegations "nonsense" as the Germany star hit out at his former international team-mate.
Ozil retired from internationals following Germany's shock World Cup group-stage exit – the playmaker growing tired of what he felt was racist treatment on behalf of the German Football Federation (DFB), supporters and even some politicians after his meeting with controversial Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The 29-year-old Arsenal midfielder, who is of Turkish heritage, was scathing of the DFB and its president Reinhard Grindel in a lengthy statement released last month.
Kroos, however, dismissed Ozil's claims of racism within the German federation prior to Real Madrid's 4-2 extra-time defeat to Atletico Madrid in Wednesday's UEFA Super Cup.
"Basically, Mesut is a deserved national player and would have deserved a better exit as a footballer," Kroos told Bild. "I have played with Mesut for many years and know that he is a nice guy.
"The way of his retirement was not okay. The proportion that is well and properly addressed in his statement is unfortunately overshadowed by the much higher proportion of nonsense. I think that he knows that racism does not exist within the national team and the DFB.
"On the contrary, we are always committed to diversity and integration. Mesut was a good example, as many of our fellow players did.
"Mesut was criticized for the photo - and rightly so. And he missed the chance to explain himself. Nevertheless, he was absolutely supported by the athletic leadership and the team. Later he was - as we others also - criticized for the performance at the World Cup. The type of criticism was certainly not always at a good level - but then you have to go through as a player."
Kroos was part of Germany's humiliating failure in Russia but the 2014 World Cup winner and 86-time international has no plans to walk away from the national team fold.
"I will continue my international career. I will go on this path until the European Championship in 2020 and have set myself as a big goal, that we are significantly more successful there than last," the 28-year-old added.
"Even before the World Cup - and especially afterwards - I thought about it and considered all sorts of decisions. And basically, regardless of success or failure in Russia. I feel that I need more rest than in the past five or six years to stay at the same level in the coming seasons. The past years have been extremely successful, but also very intense. And physically and mentally equally demanding. Often being away from home, that bothers me, I'm honest.
"I had a very good conversation with Jogi Low, who understood my thoughts and explanations. And yet he fought to keep me alive. We will find solutions together so that I get a necessary rest here and there. This is the only way from my point of view and I am grateful to Jogi for his understanding. After all, everyone wants me to be in good shape by the summer of 2020.
"My son Leon absolutely wanted me to continue playing for Germany. He is a big fan of Real and the national team. It would have been hard to say no."
|Nadal and Federer march on as rising stars prosper|
|Barcelona president Bartomeu convinced Valverde will stay|
|Inter forward Keita suffers thigh injury|
|Nadal races into third round with easy Ebden win|
|Kimmich ´perfect´ for Barcelona, says Xavi|
|Richardson and Nabi inspire Renegades´ rout of Sixers|
|This Liverpool isn´t a team of chokers – Mane|
|Central Coast Mariners 2 Melbourne City 1: Late Simon winner ends 10-match losing streak|
|Bryan backs Murray to return after hip resurfacing surgery|
|Scotland coach Townsend turns to trio of uncapped hookers|
|Spurs´ Aurier arrested on suspicion of assault, released without charge|
|That was a fireworks show - Warriors revel in record-breaking first quarter|
|We are in talks with Chelsea – Salihamidzic reiterates interest in Hudson-Odoi|
|´Proud´ Messi recognises impact of team-mates after reaching 400 LaLiga goals|
|Henry v Vieira: The Arsene Wenger proteges to move into coaching|
|Federer enjoys ´cat and mouse´ win over Evans|
|Wozniacki cruises through in Melbourne|
|Federer maintains perfect Australian Open second-round record|
|Warriors set NBA record, Butler´s 76ers rout Timberwolves|
|´I like the fact we beat them´ - 76ers´ Butler revels in win over Timberwolves|
|Murray says he´ll ´probably´ have operation|
|Australian Open tribute for Andy Murray surprises brother Jamie|
|Warriors score NBA record 51 points in first quarter against Nuggets|
|Panthers owner Tepper doesn´t rule out Newton missing 2019 because of shoulder injury|
|De Ligt will be world´s best centre-back – Koeman|
|Ronaldo a ´perfect machine´, says Gattuso|
|Barcelona? I can´t say anything - Stuani|
|Silva upbeat about Man City title chances|
|Celtics youngsters say Irving´s callout ´came from a good place´|
|NFL playoffs: Patrick Mahomes v Tom Brady|
|NFL playoffs: Jared Goff v Drew Brees|
|Sixers sign Brewer to 10-day contract|
|Lozano and Morgan scoop CONCACAF awards|
|Lakers ´optimistic´ about LeBron injury|
|Giants produce mammoth fourth quarter against Nymburk|
|Austin FC to join MLS in 2021|
|Henry, Vieira look forward to reunion when Monaco host Nice|
|Barcelona reject Neymar phone call reports|
|Wentz is the quarterback ´going forward´, says Eagles coach Pederson|
|Gattuso: Higuain has not asked to leave|
|Drew Brees by the Opta numbers: 10 facts for QB´s milestone birthday|
|Harry Kane injury: England captain´s history of ankle woe|
|Harry Kane injury: Opta numbers suggest Spurs struggles|
|Harry Kane injury: Tottenham´s options in striker´s absence|
|Allegri: Supercoppa clash practice for Champions League knockouts|
|First in clean sheets, second to Schmeichel in titles – Cech´s Premier League career in Opta numbers|
|Warrington sign England star Widdop|
|Gatland confident Wales can win Six Nations|
|Fulham sign Netherlands international Babel|
|Harry Kane injury: Games the Tottenham striker will miss|
|Simeone focused on matches, not transfer dealings|
|Iran v Iraq: Pressure off for Queiroz & Katanec|
|Vietnam v Yemen: Kocian keeps the faith|
|Darren Bravo back in West Indies Test side for first time since 2016|
|Kane out until March with ankle injury|
|South Korea v China: Son arrives for Group C dead rubber|
|Kyrgyzstan v Philippines: Eriksson remains hopeful|
|McGrath to miss Six Nations, Sexton nearing fitness|
|Kohli savours Dhoni ´classic´|
|Ford: People obsess over Farrell fly-half battle|
|EFL asks Leeds to explain ´spygate´ scandal|
|No alarms for Djokovic and Zverev, Raonic masters Kyrgios|
|Australia 3 Syria 2: Rogic breaks hearts with stoppage-time winner|
|Palestine 0 Jordan 0: Socceroos winner keeps hopes alive for Lions of Canaan|
|Halep: The results don´t matter any more|
|Hard work for Halep as Serena and Osaka sail through|
|Napoli director to take legal action over ´false´ quotes about Rog move|
|Alexander-Arnold facing absence of up to four weeks|
|Solari: We only have one number nine at Real Madrid|
|Halfpenny & Young named in Wales´ Six Nations squad|