The midfielder was named Germany’s best player in 2015. He has also been an important factor in Arsenal’s progress in the Premier League this season.
Now, his form might have dropped drastically but a few seasons ago he was mentioned as one of the absolute best in the world at his position. Many still believe there is some untapped potential in the German and it would take a different setup than at Arsenal to get the best out of him.
When Ozil left Real Madrid in 2013, he became Arsenal’s most expensive signing of all time. He cost Arsenal about £40m and at £350,000-per-week he is currently one of the highest-paid players in the world. He recently got married to his long-time girlfriend but otherwise, the midfielder does not really publicise himself too much. So, how much do you really know about Ozil? In this list, we go through ten things you didn’t know about Mesut Ozil.
There may be more or less things you didn’t know about Mesut Ozil. There must be some points on the list that you already know. If you can, you are a real Ozil/Arsenal fan. Now it remains to be seen how much you really know about the 30-year-old.
Here are 10 facts you didn’t know about Mesut Ozil.
10. Born of Turkish descent
Ozil is a third-generation Turkish-German. He performed ‘The Umrah’ which is an Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca in May 2016. Back when he still used to represent Germany on the international stage, Ozil used to recite verses from the Quran during the German national anthem as he could not sing the national anthem.
When asked about his game, he once said, “My technique and feeling for the ball is the Turkish side to my game. The discipline, attitude and always-give-your-all is the German part.”
9. “Nemo” – One Of The Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Mesut Ozil
Ozil has earned a lot of plaudits for his style of play and efficiency in building his team’s attacks. Through some of the highest praises he earned, the German got nicknamed “Der Rabe” (the Raven, or in Spanish, “El Cuervo”) when he was with Werder Bremen.
He was also called “Der Neue Diego” (the new Diego) in reference to Brazilian playmaker, Diego and “German Messi” and “German Zidane”. At Real Madrid, he was rumoured to be called “Nemo” – in reference to the fish in the very popular animated movie.
8. Ridiculous stats
At one point, you might have heard Ozil’s name being cast around as the best playmaker in the world. He might not look like the same player he once was but let us refresh your memory on how good he try used to be.
In 2011, while at Madrid, the German number 10 ranked first in the assists category in all major European and domestic competitions with 25. A year later, he repeated that feat in the La Liga with 17. He was also one of the top assist makers in the 2010 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2012.
After 6 seasons with Arsenal, he ranks third on their list of assists in the Premier League.
7. Learn more about him – Things You Didn’t Know About Mesut Ozil
Like most greats, Ozil has taken the time to publish his autobiography called “Gunning For Greatness” in 2017.
6. German national team controversy
In around May 2018, Mesut Ozil filed his retirement from the German national team, citing reasons of racism and disrespect within the DFB organization.
He supposedly was unfairly discriminated against due to his meeting with Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Both of them have a strong relationship and the Erdogan was even seen at Ozil’s wedding with Miss Turkey, Amine Gulse.
5. He prays before every match
Mesut Ozil, with Turkish descent, is a Muslim and therefore asks before each match. In an interview with the Daily Mail, he explained it himself.
“I always recite from the Quran before I go out (on the pitch). This really helps me stay focused. I pray and my teammates know that they cannot talk to me during this short period.”
4. Arsene Wenger tried to recruit him in 2010
When Real Madrid bought Ozil from the Bundesliga club, Werder Bremen in 2010, Arsene Wenger was most eager to sign the player to Arsenal.
The Frenchman later revealed, “I talked to him on the phone, in the end, he told me he wanted to go to Real Madrid. So I wished him well.”
Eventually, the chips did line up for the Gunners as they got their hands on Ozil after his three seasons at the Santiago Bernabeu. A year later, they signed Alexis Sanchez as the duo went on to form a powerful attacking relationship till January 2018.
3. Honed his skills in the “Monkey Cage”
As a football player, he is most distinguished by his creativity, technical abilities and his superb left foot. He believes he inherited these qualities from his upbringing in Gelsenkirchen. There he spent countless hours in a so-called “Monkey Cage”. It used to be on a street with a very tight playing surface.
There are many different ways to train. Monkey Cage is one of those. Many German players are a fan of this method, and Borussia Dortmund, among others, has one in their official training facility.
2. Said no to the Turkish national team
Before Ozil made his national team debut for Germany in 2009, many hoped that he would choose Turkey. They were constantly trying to convince the player. Instead, the choice fell on Die Mannschaft where he won the World Cup gold (2014), an EM bronze (2012) and a World Cup bronze (2010).
Just as in almost all his decisions in life, Özil was heavily criticized at the time. Many thought he betrayed his country by playing for Germany.
1. “Germany’s Lionel Messi”
Mesut Ozil could not meet the lofty expectations people had for him when he made his debut as a teenager, being compared to Lionel Messi. But he definitely has left his mark on the game and justified some of the comparisons to the Argentine great.