Mesut Özil (German pronunciation: [ˈmeːzut ˈøːzil], Turkish: [meˈsut ˈøzil]; born 15 October 1988) is a German professional footballer who plays for English club Arsenal. He is considered to be one of the best players in the world.
Özil plays mostly as an attacking midfielder, but can also be deployed as a winger. He began his senior career as a member of his hometown club Schalke 04 in the Bundesliga, departing two seasons later to join Werder Bremen for €5 million. He garnered break-out attention at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, where at age 22, Özil was instrumental in the side's campaign where they reached the semi-finals, losing to eventual champions Spain. He was also nominated for the Golden Ball Award, as well as being ranked first in assists in major European and domestic competitions, with 25. This garnered him a €15 million transfer to La Liga club Real Madrid.
At Madrid, Özil won the Copa del Rey in his first season, before registering a league high 17 assists as the Spanish side won the league title in the following season. He also won the Supercopa de España in the same season, becoming renowned for his technical skills and creativity; due to his agility, finesse and versatility as an attacking midfielder, he has also been compared to Zinedine Zidane by former manager José Mourinho.
Following a second-place La Liga finish to rivals Barcelona in the 2012–13 season, Özil relocated to England to join Premier League side Arsenal in a then club-record deal worth £42.5 million (€50 million), making him the most expensive German player of all time. During his first season, Özil helped end the club's largely publicised nine-year trophy drought, winning the FA Cup in 2014. He later became victorious in two more FA Cup campaigns, while also winning the FA Community Shield. Özil would also record the second most assists (19) in a Premier League season in 2014–15, as well as being named in multiple teams of the season in England.
At international level, Özil played 92 matches for the Germany national team, scoring 23 goals, and registered 40 assists. He has also won a record five German Player of the Year awards. Özil represented his country in three FIFA World Cups, as well as two UEFA European Championships, and was an integral part in both the 2010 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2012 team in South Africa and Ukraine, starring as the joint-highest assist provider in both competitions. Özil was also a key contributor as Germany won the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, gaining several plaudits for his versatility and creativity. After the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Özil retired from international competition due to alleged discrimination and disrespect by the German Football Association (DFB).Close