Mesut Ozil, the most expensive German player of all time, has played 86 matches for the Germany national team, scoring 22 goals. He was an integral part in both the 2010 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2012 team in South Africa and Ukraine. Here are some facts about the German football player:
The German footballer is an attacking midfielder who flaunts his trade in the Premier League playing for Arsenal presently.
He was celebrated for being the first national team player from an immigrant background to enjoy such international success.
In November 2010, he received the ‘Bambi Award’ in the ‘Integration’ category. He stole the show and was hailed as prime example of successful integration into German society.
He was born on October 15, 1988, in Gelsenkirchen, West Germany, to Gulizar Ozil and Mustafa Ozil. He is last of four children with two sisters and a brother.
He is a third generation Turkish-German, who is a devote Muslim and performed ‘The Umrah’ Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca in May 2016. He recites verses from the Quran during the German national anthem as well for he cannot sing the national anthem.
Even after being born and brought up in Germany, he has to concentrate to speak German. He attributes this to him attending preparatory school where 99.9% spoke Turkish, unlike kindergarten.
He honed his skill in his youth at Rot-Weiss Essen club for five years before joining the youth academy of Schalke 04 in 2005. He sported jersey # 17 and played as midfielder.
He attended Gesamtschule Berger Feld School which is close to Schalke’s Veltins Arena. The current German national team captain Manuel Neuer was his school mate.
He was touted as ‘next big thing’on making his Schalke first team, but was short lived as he refused the club offer of € 1.5 million yearly salary terming it as peanuts.
In September 2006, he was first called up for Germany under-17 team and progressed to under-21 team by 2007. On June 29, 2009, he set up the first and scored the second goal in the 48 minute to help Germany defeat England in the ‘2009 UEFA European Under-21Championship.’ This was Germany’s first under-21 title and Ozil earned his first man of the match in the finals.
On January 31, 2008, Ozil moved to Werder Bremen and signed a contract to last until June 30, 2011, for € 5 million. Sporting a jersey # 11, he scored his first goal for the club against Karlsruher SC on April 26, 2008.
After making his impact with attacking style of play he took over as the key playmaker and ended the 2009-10, season with 9 goals and 17 assists in 31 league appearances. He was declared as the ‘Best player of the first half of the season.’
He made his international debut for Germany on February 11, 2009, in a friendly against Norway, coming on as a substitute in the 79th minute.
On September 05, 2009, in another friendly against South Africa, in Bay Arena, Leverkusen, he scored his first international goal for the senior side in 77th minute. Germany won the match 2-0.
Ozil has been called the ‘assist-king’ in the media for his creative ability and offensive prowess as a playmaker. He idolizes Zinedine Zidane and developed his football skills in his youth playing in the ‘Monkey Cage’ a local pitch surrounded by fences.
His father Mustafa took over as his agent in July 2011, and was replaced later by his elder son Mutlu. This created ill-feeling between father and son and was sued by his father demanding £495,000 compensation.
Ozil was part of German team for the 2010 FIFA World Cup held in South Africa. He played an important role in Germany reaching the semi-final stage with a goal and number of assists and FIFA announced that he was among ten players shortlisted for the Golden Ball.
His performances during the 2010 World Cup raised his stakes with offer from Barcelona, Arsenal and Manchester United. Among others, Ozil accepted Real Madrid offer on August 17 for around€ 15 million.
Ozil was one of the main stay of the team through its 2012 Euro qualification scoring five times and as incisive passer he has to his credit seven assists more than any in Europe. He was recognized as Germany’s best player of the year for 2011 and was awarded the POTY award.
At the 2012 FIFA Euro championship, he was recipient of two Carlsberg Man of the Match Awards and with 3 assist he finished the tournament as the joint highest assists provider. Ozil was one of the four German player named in the UEFA Euro Team of the Tournament.
He made his debut for Real Madrid in a friendly match on August 22, in a 3-1 win against Hercules CF. He finished the season with 25 assists, the highest in Europe that season apart from netting 10 goals in 53 appearances in all forms.
On September 02, 2013, Ozil signed up with Arsenal FC in a five year deal believed to be around £ 42.5 million. The deal made him the most expensive German football player of all time.
In a match against Manchester City in December 2013, after being pulverized 6-3, Ozil was involved in an altercation with his teammate and fellow German ‘Per Mertesacker’ for not acknowledging travelling club fans. He later apologized via Facebook post.
On November 21, 2015,Ozil set new Premier League record of being the first player to assist in seven consecutive matches with an assist in a 2-1 win against West Bromwich Albion.
In the same season on December 28, he scored a goal and creatednine scoring chances, in a 2-0 win against AFC Bournemouth, the most in a single Premier League game by any player in the season.
He ended the 2015-16, season with 8 goals and 20 assists in all club completions and was named ‘Arsenal Player of the Season award.’
After helping Germany to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup as its top scorer with 8 goals, he was part of history as Germany became the first European team to win the World Cup in South America. After the finals, UEFA President Michel Platini took the match shirt of Ozil as souvenir.
As part of the Big Shoe project, Ozil donated his 2014 World Cup winnings an estimated £240,000, to pay for 23 sick Brazilian children for surgery.
In May 2016, he visited Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, home to 80,000 people displaced due to Syrian civil war. He obliged for autograph and handed out football shirts.
He released his autobiography ‘Gunning for Greatness’ in March 2017.