Mesut Ozil has announced that he has retired from football at the age of 34 with immediate effect. The former Arsenal midfielder had been playing for the Turkish top flight side Istanbul Basaksehir since the summer but due to several injury problems, he has made just eight appearances.
Ozil first joined the Gunners in 2013 and left in July 2021 after being frozen out by their current boss Mikel Arteta. He made 92 appearances for Germany in his eight years with the international squad and helped them to win the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The attacking midfielder was also the top assist provider at the 2010 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2012, where Germany reached the semi-finals in both tournaments.
Taking to his social media accounts, the 34-year-old said: “After thoughtful consideration, I’m announcing my immediate retirement from professional football. I’ve had the privilege to be a professional football player for almost 17 years and I feel incredibly thankful for the opportunity.”
Here is all you need to know about Mesut Ozil...
Mesut Ozil career highlights
Born in 1988 in Gelsenkirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Ozil was eligible to play for both Germany and Turkey due to being the son of Turkish immigrants. He played for various youth clubs in Gelsenkirchen during a five-year period between 1995 and 2000 before completing a five-year stint with Rot-Weiss Essen.
In 2005, Ozil moved to the youth system of Schalke 04 and made his first team appearance the following year. After a fall out with the club management, Ozil moved to Werder Bremen for a reported fee of €5 million. Despite a disappointing domestic performance, Werder Bremen reached the UEFA Cup final in 2009 thanks to Ozil’s efforts, eventually losing out to Shakhtar Donetsk.
In 2009-10, Ozil was named the best player of the first leg of the 2009 Bundesliga season. Due to his performances in the FIFA 2010 World Cup, Ozil caught the interest of Real Madrid and was with the La Liga side until 2013. In his debut season, he finished with 25 assists, the highest for any player in any major European competition. He won the 2011-12 La Liga, 2010-11 Copa del Rey and the Supercopa de Espana in 2012.
However, Ozil is best known in England for his years with Arsenal. During his seven years with the side, Ozil won four FA Cups, FA Community Shield and was runner-up in both the EFL Cup and UEFA Europa League. He secured the most assists in the Premier League in 2015-16 and was Arsenal’s Player of the Season in 2015-16.
The attacking midfielder has been named German Player of the Year five times and has been part of the UEFA Team of the Year twice and UEFA European Championship Team of the Tournament in 2012.
Who is Mesut Ozil’s wife?
After dating the singer Mandy Capristo, Ozil began dating the former Miss Turkey Amine Gulse. They were married in 2019 and a year later the couple confirmed the birth of their first child, Eda. Their second daughter, Ela, was born in September 2022.
Ozil is a practising Muslim and would recite from the Quran before matches as well as observing the month of Ramadan when his career allowed. He has since become a voice of activism, denouncing the alleged treatment of Uyghurs in China and in 2021, he teamed up with the FA and Football for Peace to launch a developmental centre to tackle the disparity of British Asians in association football. Quoting his own multiethnic background, Ozil stated his desire “to give (British Asians) an opportunity to be successful on and off the pitch.”
What has been said?
In his retirement statement, Ozil said: “In recent weeks and months, having also suffered some injuries, it’s become more and more clear that it’s time to leave the big stage of football.
“It has been an amazing journey filled with unforgettable moments and emotions. I want to thank my clubs - Schalke 04, Weder Bremen, Real Madrid, Arsenal FC, Fenerbahce, Basaksehir and the coaches who supported me, plus team-mates who have become friends.
“Now I’m looking forward to everything that is in front of me with my beautiful wife, Amine, and my two beautiful daughters Eda and Ela - but you can be sure that you will hear from me from time to time on my social media channels.”