Mesut Özil - Player Profile
Mesut Özil - Player Profile
What do we know about Mesut Özil?
Mesut Özil’s ‘career’ started at the age of just seven. He played for Westfalia 04 in Gelsenkirchen, which is the German city where he was born in 1988. He later played for other youth teams in Germany before making his debut as a senior player with Schalke 04.
After making 30 appearances for Schalke 04, he signed for Werder Bremen where he played 71 times and scored 13 goals. He scored the winner in the 2009 German Cup Final to give Bremen their sixth German Cup. He also helped Bremen reach the UEFA Cup final.
Why did Özil leave Germany?
In 2010, Özil moved to Real Madrid for €15 million. Özil said it was an easy decision to move to Spain: "When the offer came in to join Real Madrid, there was no decision to make. Let's be honest – you don't refuse this club. This is one club you say yes to.” During his time with Real Madrid, Özil played over 100 games and scored 19 goals. Some other highlights were:
- In 2010-11, Özil made 25 assists, which was more than any other player in a major European league.
- In 2011-12, he was short-listed for the FIFA Ballon d'Or award.
- In 2011-12, he helped Real Madrid win their 32nd league title.
- Özil created the most goals in the Spanish league in both 2011-12 (17) and 2012-13 (26).
What is Özil's style of play?
One nickname Özil had at Real Madrid was:‘The New Zidane’. His style of play is very similar to that of the former French international star: superb close control of the ball, quick thinking and immaculate passing. He can score goals but his special skill is helping others to score. When he left Madrid to join Arsenal, team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo said: "He was the player who knew my moves in front of goal best. I'm angry about Özil leaving."
Why did Özil leave Madrid?
After two good years at Real Madrid with coach José Mourinho, Özil moved to Arsenal in September 2013 for £42.5 million, a record for a German player. He felt that he was not wanted at the Spanish giants: “I was certain I would stay at Real Madrid, but I did not have the faith of the coach [Carlo Ancelotti]. I am a player who needs faith. This is what I feel from Arsenal, which is why I joined." Özil was welcomed at the club by three other German players: Per Mertesacker, Thomas Eisfeld and Lukas Podolski.
Has Özil made a difference to the Arsenal team?
Özil has made a great start for Arsenal. He has scored 5 goals in only 26 appearances and created a number of goals for the team. Arsenal made their best start to a Premier League season for many years and Özil was part of that.
Which country does Özil play for?
Özil plays for Germany and has made over 50 appearances for them, scoring 18 goals.
In modern football, there are many players who are eligible to play for more than one country. Özil could have played for Germany or Turkey but chose Germany: "I am third generation in Germany: my father grew up there. Turkey will always be a special country for me but I have never doubted my decision to play for Germany." There are around 1.7 million people of Turkish descent living in Germany – the largest ethnic minority in the country.
What do we know about Özil outside of football?
Mesut Özil is a practising Muslim, and recites the Quran before matches. "I always do that before I go out on the pitch. I pray and my team-mates know that they cannot talk to me during this period." An important time for Muslims is the holy month of Ramadan. Muslims should not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset. But for footballers, this can be problematic. Özil says: "Because of my job I cannot follow Ramadan properly. I do it only when I have free days. It's impossible, because you have to eat and drink a lot to stay fit."
Did you know...........?
- At Real Madrid, one of Özil's nicknames was 'Nemo' (after the fish in the film 'Finding Nemo').
- Özil was top scorer for Germany in their qualification campaign for the World Cup in Brazil, with 9 goals.
- In 2010, Özil received a BAMBI award for being a good example of successful integration in German society.
- Özil has his own logo which includes the letter 'O' and the two dots ¨ which are used in the first letter of his surname.
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What do you think?
Mesut Özil started playing youth team football at only 7 years old.