Who is Mesut Özil?

Of course we all know “Who” he is, but who is he really? What’s the story of the man behind the Social media image? The flawless, veneer of a carefully crafted media personality.

The simple stuff
Full name Mesut Özil[1]
Date of birth 15 October 1988 (age 30)[2]
Place of birth Gelsenkirchen, West Germany
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)[3]
Playing position Attacking midfielder

What do we know about Mesut Özil? He’s an agile, creative advanced midfielder capable of playing on the wing or behind the main strikers as a #10. He’s a German National of Turkish descent and certainly in recent years has favoured his Turkish roots. The result of which has seen him become a target for German discontent with the National side and subsequently saw him attract a lot of negative press/comments from people within the game and the fanbase. All complete bollocks incidentally.

For Arsenal he’s been deployed in both Attacking Midfield and Wing positions and whilst he has impressed at times, specifically his partnership with Alexis Sanchez, he has appeared to underdeliver on his huge promise and talent.

Let’s look at what he’s achieved in his career. Why is he so special?

Honours
Club

Werder Bremen[257]

DFB-Pokal: 2008–09
UEFA Cup runner-up: 2008–09

Real Madrid[257]

La Liga: 2011–12
Copa del Rey: 2010–11
Supercopa de España: 2012

Arsenal

FA Cup: 2013–14,[258] 2014–15,[259] 2016–17[260]
FA Community Shield: 2015[261]
EFL Cup runner-up: 2017–18[262]
UEFA Europa League runner-up: 2018–19[263]
International
Germany U21

UEFA European Under-21 Championship: 2009[264]
Germany

FIFA World Cup: 2014[265]

Individual
Awards

kicker Bundesliga Team of the Season: 2008–09
kicker attacking midfielder of the year: 2010
Germany national team Player of the Year: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016
UEFA European Championship Team of the Tournament: 2012
UEFA Team of the Year: 2012, 2013[
FIFA FIFPro World XI 2nd team: 2013, 2016
FIFA FIFPro World XI 5th team: 2014, 2017
Laureus Media Award: 2014
IFFHS World’s Best Playmaker Silver award: 2013
PFA Fans Player of the Month: April, November & December 2015
Best German Abroad (Kicker Magazine): 2016
Arsenal Player of the Season: 2015–16
UEFA Best Player in Europe Award: 10th place 2012
FIFA Ballon d’Or: 2010 (13th place), 2011 (11th place), 2012 (14th place), 2013 (16th place)
Performance

Bundesliga top assist provider: 2009–10

UEFA Europa League top assist provider: 2009–10
FIFA World Cup top assist provider: 2010
UEFA Champions League top assist provider: 2010–11
La Liga top assist provider: 2011–12
UEFA European Championship top assist provider: 2012
Premier League top assist provider: 2015–16

A fair haul of awards for a player who we all feel has struggled to justify his wages at Arsenal. But what about what lies outside of the Emirates Stadium? What does he stand for? What’s he about?

Özil the man?

As part of the BigShoe project, Özil donated his 2014 World Cup winnings, an estimated £240,000, to pay for 23 sick Brazilian children to have medical surgery as a “personal thank you for the hospitality of the people of Brazil.

In May 2016, international media covered Özil’s visit to the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, home to around 80,000 people displaced as a result of the Syrian civil war. Özil toured the camp as well as playing with children, signing autographs and handing out football shirts.

In 2017, he worked with the charity My Shining Star to make a child cancer patient’s dreams come true. He invited the child, Charlie, to be a guest at his private box and in the player’s lounge during a game with Sunderland at Emirates Stadium.

In 2019, Ozil asked wedding guests to donate to charity which funds operations for children who suffer from burns, club feet and cleft lip and palate in developing countries, rather than buy the couple gifts.

“Many fans have asked me, my close relatives and friends about our wishes for tomorrow’s wedding,” the Arsenal midfielder wrote in an Instagram post.

“As a professional footballer I am in a fortunate and privileged position. However, I invite everyone who is willing and able to help to support a very special project close to both of our hearts.” He then announced: “Amine and I will bear the expenses for surgeries of 1,000 children in need.”

All of which shows he’s a good person and in his wife he appears to have found a kindred spirit. But, will it help him return to his best form? He’s spoken already this year about feeling more settled, more calm.

I think we have seen a different Özil this year already. In training and pre-season I think he looks hugrier. More determined. Ultimately with Pepé we have another player for him to aim at, to create for and could see him hit the numbers that helped him earn the honours above.

I suppose the real question is, will he get the chance to do it? I hope so, an Özil on form is a delight to watch and he will set up a lot of goals for our front three. Come on lad, do it for us Gooners. You deserve to be a legend.

Til next time

WG

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