Former World Cup winner Ozil has retired


World Cup winner Mesut Ozil announced his retirement from football on Wednesday after an international career and Dutch and club spells with Real Madrid and Arsenal.

The 34-year-old helped Germany to glory in Brazil in 2014 but largely left the international scene after the Germans crashed out of the 2018 tournament in Russia.

“After much thought, I announce my immediate retirement from professional football,” said the attacking midfielder.

“I have had the opportunity to be an international scholar for almost 17 years now and I feel very grateful for the opportunity.

“But in recent weeks and months, since he also suffered some injuries, it has become more and more clear that it is time to leave the big stage of football.”

Ozil, born in the German city of Gelsenkirchen but of Turkish origin, played at some of the biggest stages of football but was also involved in international politics and accusations of racism.

When Germany was kicked out of 2018 World Cup in the group stage, an injured Ozil accused the Germans of “racist” attacks.

His club career blossomed when his passing and vision helped secure his move from the Bundesliga to Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid side in 2010.

He soon led La Liga in assists while helping the Spanish club to their 32nd league title in 2012.

His big money move to Arsenal in 2013 helped the London club win the FA Cup the following year.

In 2014, Ozil started the final as Germany beat Lionel Messi’s Argentina 1-0 at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro thanks to Mario Goetze’s extra goal.

Ozil was still in contention for the Ballon d’Or but the latter stages of his career were marred by disputes over playing time and his close friendship with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan was the best man at Ozil’s Istanbul wedding to former Miss Turkey and actress Amine in 2019.

But Ozil’s decision to be photographed with Erdogan on the eve of Turkey’s presidential election in 2018 caused particular controversy at the World Cup that summer.

This time Erdogan showed a political crisis that followed a failed attempt against his government.

Ozil’s photo with the Turkish leader was widely interpreted as his political endorsement of Erdogan in the 2018 election campaign.

He ended his international career before moving to Fenerbahce and recently Istanbul Basaksehir.


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