Mesut Ozil Profile

Mesut Özil  born 15 October 1988 

Özil has been a youth national team member since 2006, and a member of the German national team since 2009. He gained international attention during the 2010 FIFA World Cup and was nominated for the Golden Ball Award, which is awarded to the tournament's best player.

Özil started his senior career at hometown club Schalke in the Bundesliga in 2006, transferred to Werder Bremen in 2008 and was signed by Real Madrid in August 2010 following his break-out performance at the FIFA World Cup with Germany. On transfer deadline day of summer 2013, he moved to Arsenal for a club-record fee of £42.5 million.The transfer makes him the most expensive German football player of all time.

Özil is acclaimed for his finesse and improvisation as an attacking midfielder. His style and ability for providing assists for his team-mates has been compared by former manager José Mourinho to that of Real Madrid legend Zinedine Zidane.

In 2010-11, Özil ranked first in assists in major European and domestic competitions with 25. In 2011-12, he ranked first in assists in La Liga with 17. Özil was the joint-highest assist provider at both the 2010 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2012, registering three at each tournament

Gelsenkirchen and Rot-Weiss Essen

Özil began his youth career playing for various clubs in Gelsenkirchen and then played five years for Rot-Weiss Essen.

Schalke 04

In 2005, Özil moved to the youth department of Schalke 04. He was deployed a midfielder and wore 17 as his squad number, after starting as a playmaker and central attacking midfielder in the place of the suspended Lincoln in Ligapokal matches against Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich. On making the first team at Schalke, he was described as "the next big thing," but after declining an offer from Schalke 04, claiming that a yearly salary of €1.5 million would not be enough. he eventually fell out with club management and moved on to Werder Bremen in January 2008. This led to Mirko Slomka, the then-Schalke 04 manager, claiming that Özil would not play another match for Schalke 04.

Werder Bremen 

On 31 January 2008, Özil moved to Werder Bremen for a reported fee of €5 million, signing a contract with the German club until 30 June 2011. Other than Werder Bremen, Hannover 96 and VfB Stuttgart were reportedly interested as well in binding Özil to their respective clubs, however did not want to pay such a high transfer fee. After transferring to Werder Bremen, Özil got the jersey number 11.

Fresh off his fallout at Schalke 04, he stepped into the shoes of Brazilian playmaker Diego to help lead the north German club to the 2009 DFB-Pokal with the winning goal in a 1–0 victory over Bayer Leverkusen in Berlin.He also excelled in Europe where he led Werder Bremen to the final of the last ever UEFA Cup, losing out to Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine.

On 26 April 2008 (30th match day) Özil scored the 2–1 in the 33 against Karlsruher SC, this being his very first Bundesliga goal. He played in twelve games of the second half of the season, six times playing in the starting formation, becoming second with Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga at the end of the 2007–08 season.

In the 2009–10 season, Özil became the key playmaker of Werder Bremen. On 1 May 2010 (33rd match day), Özil played his 100th Bundesliga game, scoring the 1–0 lead in a 2–0 win against his former club Schalke 04. Özil went on and led Werder Bremen to become third in the league and again to the DFB-Pokal final, however this time it was lost against Bayern Munich by 0–4. Although Bremen failed to get going in their 2008–09 Bundesliga season, eventually finishing a disappointing 10th, Özil managed to make a significant impact in most games and came away with a respectable three goals and 15 assists that highlighted his attacking credentials. In his second season, Bremen finished a respectable third, with Özil contributing 9 goals and 17 assists in 31 league fixture appearances. During the 2009–10 season, Özil was also declared as the "best player of the first half of the season".

In total, Özil played 108 games for Werder Bremen in all competitions, scoring 16 goals and giving 55 assists.

Real Madrid

Due to his performances in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Özil ensured his place among Europe's top young talents. He was sought by teams likeBarcelona, Arsenal, and Real Madrid.

English striker Wayne Rooney was one of the many admirers Özil had garnered with his performances in the World Cup, and had even asked Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson to sign the German playmaker.There were reports claiming that a deal was struck for a transfer to Barça.

Werder Bremen denied the reports and on 17 August 2010, the team announced that they had reached an agreement with Real Madrid for Özil's transfer.The transfer fee is believed to have been in the region of €15 million. Upon signing, Özil said, "When the offer came in to join Real Madrid, there is no decision to make. Let's be honest – you don't refuse this club. I was in no rush to leave Werder Bremen, but this is one club you say yes to. They are an institution, a club with a fantastic history, stadium and squad full of world-class players.

The prospect of performing at the Bernabeu is so awesome you jump straight in."]Özil made his debut on 22 August in a friendly match against Hércules, which Real Madrid won 3–1. His jersey numbers were changed often before the season started. He was given the number 26 in the pre-season and 19 for his debut. But following the transfer of Rafael van der Vaart to Tottenham Hotspur, he was given the vacant 23.

Özil was brought in to back up teammate Kaká, but due to his surgery, Özil obtained a starting role. He then made his La Liga debut for Real Madrid as a substitute for Ángel Di María in the 62nd minute against Mallorca, which Real Madrid drew 0–0.

He made his season debut in the Champions League on 15 September. He got his first assist with Real Madrid in the 74th minute against Ajax after he crossed for a Gonzalo Higuaín goal.

He walked off the pitch as a second half substitute to standing ovations in his first two games as a starter at the Santiago Bernabéu. His first goal came in a league match against Deportivo La Coruña on 3 October 2010, in a 6–1 victory.Özil's first Champions League goal with Real came in the 14th minute against Milan on 19 October 2010.On 22 December, he made his debut in the Copa del Rey, scoring once in an 8–0 victory over Levante.

He finished the season with 25 assists, the highest for any player in any major European competition that season. Özil's performances for Real Madrid during his first season were praised by media, fans and players.

2011–12 season

Özil began wearing the number 10 shirt for Real Madrid in 2011–12, signalling manager José Mourinho's intent to use the German international as his main playmaker. On 14 August 2011, Özil scored his first goal against Barcelona in El Clásico in the first leg of the 2011 Supercopa de España. On 17 August 2011, Özil was sent off in the last minute of the second leg of the 2011 Supercopa after an altercation with Barça forward David Villa. 

Özil expressed his desire to end his football days at the club in an interview with German magazine kicker, saying, "I'd like to end my career at Real Madrid. I know it will be difficult because I have many more years ahead of me and many younger and good players will also be out there, but I want to be part of that future. I know what I'm capable of, and I'm convinced, I'll stay at Real Madrid many years."

Özil was on the short-list of the FIFA Ballon d'Or award.

He finished atop the La Liga assists chart, with 17 assists. On 2 May 2012, he helped Real Madrid to clinch a record 32nd La Liga title as he assisted Real Madrid's first goal and scored the second goal against Bilbao, which Real Madrid later won by 3–0. Eleven days later, Özil scored two goals in the final game of the regular season against RCD Mallorca, once again consolidating his excellent performance with the club. The win made Real the first club in the Spanish top flight to ever reach 100 points in a single season.His fine form with Real Madrid and German national team saw him earn nomination for UEFA Best Player in Europe Award, in which he finished 10th, being the youngest player to feature in the Top 10.

2012–13 season

With arrival of Luka Modrić before the start of the season, some in the media claimed Özil was unhappy at Real Madrid, but he later rejected such talk and claimed he was happy at the club and looking forward to compete for his place.After the start of the season, he added the Supercopa de España title to his honours. In league play, he provided an important assist to Cristiano Ronaldo who equalised in a 2–2 draw against Barcelona at Camp Nou.

On 6 November, Özil scored a crucial 89th-minute free-kick to rescue a draw for Real Madrid and secure a point against Borussia Dortmund. He continued his fine form in the league as he scored another brace against Real Valladolid to rescue Real Madrid in a 3–2 win. He then went on to finish the season with 29 assists, although Real Madrid did not win any silverware except for the Supercopa de España, Özil's performance was praised.

At the end of the season, Özil had 26 assists, more than any other player in the leagues.

Arsenal

On 2 September 2013, Özil agreed to join English side Arsenal. Both the fee paid for Özil as well as the contract duration were undisclosed, but they are believed to be around £42.4 million for a five-year deal. If correct, the transfer makes him the most expensive German football player of all time. Özil was assigned the number 11 shirt and the centre-attacking midfield role by the team.

Özil said of the transfer: "At the weekend, I was certain I would stay at Real Madrid but afterwards I realised I did not have the faith from the coach or the bosses. I am a player who needs this faith and that is what I have felt from Arsenal, which is why I have joined." In Özil's first press conference, he said: "I would have come here for free, that wouldn't have been a problem." Özil additionally stated that Arsène Wenger played an important role in his decision: "When I spoke to Arsène Wenger on the phone, he was full of respect, and as a player, I need that." Several Real Madrid players were dissatisfied with Özil leaving the club, including Cristiano Ronaldo, who said, "He was the player who best knew my moves in front of goal ... I'm angry about Özil leaving."

2013–14 season

Özil made his debut for Arsenal in their league game away to Sunderland on 14 September 2013. He assisted Olivier Giroud's goal in the 11th minute of the match as they went on to win 3–1. Three days after that, he made his Champions League debut for Arsenal against Marseille. Just over three weeks after making his debut for Arsenal, he made his home debut against Stoke City in a 3–1 victory. He was involved in all three goals, with two assists and a free kick which was saved but fell into Aaron Ramsey's path.He scored his first goal for Arsenal, a brilliantly controlled finish from a Ramsey cross, in a 2–0 win against Napoli in the Champions League. On 19 October, he scored his first two Premier League goals during the 4–1 home win against Norwich City. Özil played in all six of Arsenal's games in November. The German playmaker provided the cross forJack Wilshere's second goal against Marseille and gave further assists for Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini in the 3–0 win over Cardiff City. Özil missed the chance to score his fourth Arsenal goal when he saw his penalty in the win over Marseille saved by Steve Mandanda.

Özil was again short-listed for the FIFA Ballon d'Or award, along with former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo.Özil was also featured on the UEFA Team of the Year.

Özil began December with two goals in as many games against Hull City and Everton. A minor shoulder injury forced him out of the final game of December in a win againstNewcastle United. After the 6–3 defeat at Manchester City, Özil was involved in an altercation with teammate Per Mertesacker, who was angry with Özil's failure to thank the travelling supporters, an omission for which he subsequently apologised via Facebook.

Özil started four of Arsenal's six games in January. The playmaker missed Arsenal's victory over Cardiff City on New Year's Day with a shoulder injury before returning to make a late appearance from the bench against Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup. The 25-year-old produced a slide-rule pass for Lukas Podolski to score his first goal against Coventry City and provided the ball for Santi Cazorla's goal against Southampton at the end of the month to take his assist tally to 10.

February was a difficult month for Özil as he struggled to reach the heights he showed in his first few months at the club. The German playmaker pulled off a brilliant piece of skill to win a penalty against Bayern Munich in the Champions League knockout phase, but his spot-kick saved by Manuel Neuer. Speaking before the draw with Manchester United, Arsène Wenger spoke about Özil, saying: "He has done well, he is adapting as well to the Premier League – we have seen it before [that it takes time]. I wouldn't like to put too much pressure on him because he has been a top-class player until now. He didn't have the best of games [at Liverpool] (a 5–1 loss, where Özil was the centre of attention due to a bad performance) but that can happen. He works very hard to adapt to the physical level of the Premier League and for me he is an exceptional player."

On 8 March, Özil scored his first goal of 2014 in a 4–1 FA Cup quarter-final win over Everton. Özil was showing signs of old form and started in Arsenal's second leg Champions League last 16 clash with Bayern Munich. He was substituted at half-time, and the reasoning behind it was that Özil had suffered a hamstring injury and will face a month out, missing key fixtures against Chelsea and Manchester City.

On 20 April, Özil made an instant impact with a lively display against Hull when he returned to the Arsenal team in a 3–0 win. He then returned to goalscoring form with Arsenal's second in their 3–0 win over Newcastle United, and then assisted Olivier Giroud's header. Manager Wenger praised Özil's impact upon his return, saying "Mesut Ozil is very important for the team. He's been missed while he's been injured. We've missed some very important players in an important period of the season. We're really pleased to have people like him back in the team and performing at the top level because that's what we need."[58]

Özil played all three of Arsenal's remaining fixtures during the last month of his debut season in England. The German playmaker came off at half-time in extra-time of Arsenal's2014 FA Cup final victory over Hull City at Wembley. Speaking before the FA Cup final, Per Mertesacker praised his compatriot's impact on the side during his first season in England. "You could see from the start that he is one of the best players in Europe," said Mertesacker. "His contributions and assists are vital for any club so we are happy to have him back." Özil completed his maiden season at Arsenal with 14 assists and 7 goals in all competitions, spanning a course of 39 games.

2014–15 season

Özil returned to club training in the middle of August after participating in Germany's 2014 FIFA World Cup win in Brazil. On 23 August, Özil made his first appearance of the season in the 2–2 draw with Everton at Goodison Park. On 27 August, he played a part in Alexis Sánchez's winning goal in the second leg of the Champions League qualification play-off against Beşiktaş, playing a one-two with Jack Wilshere in the build-up to the goal. 

On 20 September, Özil opened the scoring and assisted Danny Welbeck in a 3–0 victory againstAston Villa at Villa Park. The German playmaker featured in three following games and started in Arsenal's Champions League group stage victory against Galatasaray, providing an assist for Alexis Sánchez in a 4–1 win. 

On 8 October, the DFB declared that Özil would be sidelined for between 10 and 12 weeks with a left knee injury obtained during a 2–0 defeat at Chelsea three days prior to the international break. The prognosis would rule him out of the remainder of Arsenal's Champions League group matches, and four international fixtures.

On 11 January, Özil made his first appearance in three months as a 73rd minute substitute in a 3–0 win against Stoke City.He scored on his return to the starting line-up in Arsenal's 3–2 win at Brighton & Hove Albion in the fourth round of the FA Cup on 25 January, latching onto a pass from Tomáš Rosický before scoring Arsenal's second goal.In his first Premier League start of the year, Özil scored once and provided an assist for Olivier Giroud as Arsenal beat Aston Villa 5–0 at home on 1 February. 

The following week, Özil scored the opening goal in the Gunners' 2–1 North London Derby defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane. On 4 April, he scored the second goal for his team in a 4–1 win over Liverpool.After a 3-1 win over Hull, manager Arsene Wenger praised him by saying "Overall his influence was very strong". 

After scoring during a pre-season game against Lyon, Özil received more praise with Arsene Wenger calling for him to have his best season yet in Arsenal colours.

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