Mesut Özil is considered one of the most talented football players of his generation. The German attacking midfielder is renowned for his slick ball control, incisive passing, and ability to create goal-scoring chances for his teammates.
Özil played a pivotal role in Germany’s 2014 World Cup victory and also helped Real Madrid win the La Liga title in 2012. He currently plies his trade in Turkey for Fenerbahçe. Over the course of his illustrious career, Özil has won several trophies for both club and country.
In this article, we take a deep dive into Özil’s life and career so far.
Early Life and Background
- Full name: Mesut Özil
- Date of birth: October 15, 1988 (age 35 years)
- Place of birth: Gelsenkirchen, Germany
- Parents: Mustafa Özil (father), Gulizar Özil (mother)
- Siblings: Mutlu Özil (sister), Nese Özil (sister)
Mesut Özil was born in Gelsenkirchen, Germany to Turkish parents Mustafa Özil and Gulizar Özil who had immigrated from Devrek, Turkey. He grew up alongside his elder sisters Mutlu and Nese.
As a young boy, Özil would play football in the street outside his home. His father Mustafa, a talented amateur footballer himself, noticed Mesut’s potential and decided to enroll him at a football academy.
Early Football Career
- Started playing football at age of 5 at DJK Westfalia 04 Gelsenkirchen
- Scouted by Rot-Weiss Essen in 2005
- Made senior team debut for Rot-Weiss Essen at age 17
- Transferred to Schalke 04 in 2008
- Won DFB-Pokal with Schalke 04 in 2011
Özil began playing organized football at the age of five for local club DJK Westfalia 04 Gelsenkirchen. He was scouted in 2005 by Bundesliga club Rot-Weiss Essen at age 16 and made his senior team debut at 17 in August 2006.
In January 2008, age 19, Özil left Essen to join Schalke 04 where he spent the next three seasons. He helped Schlake win the DFB-Pokal (German Cup) in 2011. His stellar midfield performances attracted attention from Europes top clubs.
Transfer to Real Madrid
- Signed 5-year contract with Real Madrid in August 2010
- Transfer fee was €15 million, set records for German player transfer
- Assisted more goals (25) than any other Real Madrid player in season 2010-11
- Formed strong partnership with Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid
In August 2010, Özil signed a 5-year deal with Spanish giants Real Madrid in a deal worth €15 million, becoming the most expensive German football transfer at the time.
Despite being relatively unknown internationally, Özil made an instant impact at Real. In his first season, he racked up 17 assists, more than any other Real player as the club won the Copa del Ray.
The next season (2011-2012) proved to be a breakthrough one as Özil formed a prolific partnership with Cristiano Ronaldo, as the pair notched up 36 goals and 31 assists in league action alone. Özil’s cultured playmaking was crucial as Real Madrid ended FC Barcelona’s dominance to win La Liga.
Success with German National Team
- Mesut Özil international debut in 2009 aged 21
- Played at 2010 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2012
- Was ranked first in assists in UEFA Euro 2012 qualification
- Played pivotal role in Germany’s 2014 World Cup victory
- Was awarded the Bambi award for being a prime example of successful integration within German society
Özil cemented his status as one of the world’s best when he turned in a string of influential perfomances in Germany’s triumphant 2014 World Cup campaign in Brazil.
He created the most goalscoring chances at the 2010 World Cup (as a 21 year old) and later emerged top in assists for UEFA Euro 2012 qualification. In the 2014 World Cup, Özil played a starring role with his incisive passing and movement and was nominated for the Golden Ball. Germany defeated Argentina 1-0 in the final to lift the trophy.
For his positive contributions on-and-off the field, Özil was honored with the Bambi integration award in 2010 for serving as an outstanding example of successful integration within German society.
Record Transfer to Arsenal FC
- Signed for Premier League club Arsenal FC from Real Madrid in 2013
- Reported to be £42.5m transfer, highest ever fee paid for Arsenal signing
- Made debut assist in first match against Sunderland AFC
- Voted Arsenal Player of the Season twice in 2015–2016 and 2016-2017
- Became fastest player to reach 50 EPL assists, in 141 appearances
In September 2013, Premier League giants Arsenal announced they had signed Mesut Özil from Real Madrid for a then club-record fee of £42.5 million.
He made an instant impact by setting up Olivier Giroud on debut against Sunderland. Özil continued creating goals and notched up 20 assists in all comps in his first season. His creative genius helped end Arsenal’s 9-year trophy drought as they lifted the FA Cup.
The 2015-2016 campaign was another fruitful one as Özil topped the EPL assists charts with 19 assists and was voted Arsenal’s Player of the Season by fans. He went on to break the record for fewest matches needed to reach 50 Premier League assists, doing so in just 141 appearances.
International Retirement and Exile
- Announced retirement from international duty in July 2018 citing racism
- Reversed retirement decision in 2019 and returned at Euro 2020
- Missed December 2018 game against Saudi Arabia due to political tensions
- His loyalty to Turkey has limited his commercial appeal in Germany
In an explosive move, Mesut Özil retired from international football in 2018 citing the “racism and disrespect” he faced in Germany over his Turkish roots. This came in the wake of a controversial photograph with Turkish president Erdogan which led to criticism against Özil.
He missed an international friendly in 2018 against Saudi Arabia since he did want to be made part of political propaganda due to his Turkish loyalty.
Ultimately in 2019 Özil reversed his retirement decision and participated in Euro 2020 qualification games for Germany. But his fractured relationship with German fans and off-field persona has impacted his commercial appeal domestically.
Transfer to Fenerbahçe and Life in Turkey
- Contract terminated with mutual consent at Arsenal January 2021
- Signed 3.5 year deal with boyhood club Fenerbahçe same month
- Called move to Turkey “a dream come true” being of Turkish descent
- Topped Super Lig assists charts in first season with Fenerbahçe
- Married former Miss Turkey Amine Gulse in Istanbul in 2019
Unable to find a regular place in Arsenal’s squad, Özil’s contract was mutually terminated in January 2021 leading him to sign for Turkish giants Fenerbahçe – the club he supported as a boy in Germany.
Özil described his free transfer to Turkey – where his family roots lie – as a “dream come true” and chance to rediscover himself. The German star helped Fenerbahçe to a second-place finish in the 2021-2022 Super Lig season, leading the assists charts with 9, proving he still has magic in his boots.
Off the field, Özil married Erdogan’s adopted daughter and former Miss Turkey Amine Gulse in Istanbul in 2019. He found a new lease of life and followers in Turkey where he continues to reside.
Net Worth, Endorsements and Charity Work
- Current net worth estimated at $120 million
- Second highest-paid Arsenal player during stint there
- Signed sponsorship deals with Mercedes-Benz and Beats
- Runs charity organization Big Shoe which funds surgeries for children
According to reports, Mesut Özil has built a net worth of $120 million from his football salary and endorsement deals. At Arsenal, he was among the highest earners with a salary touching $20 million.
Özil also launched his own lifestyle brand M10 selling sportswear and footwear. He has inked sponsorship deals German auto giants Mercedes-Benz and Apple-owned audio brand Beats.
The footballer runs a charity foundation named Big Shoe which collects donations to fund life-changing surgeries for underprivileged children around the world. This altruism has further boosted Özil’s profile off the pitch.
Playing Style and Legacy
- Renowned for his technical ability, passing, and playmaking skills
- Dictates attacking tempo for his teams with creativity
- Excels at unlocking defenses to carve out goal-scoring chances
- Has second-most assists (47) in UEFA European Championship history
- Won German national award for being role model for integration
Mesut Özil’s biggest strengths lie in his superior technique and passing range which he utilizes to mastermind attacks in the final third.
Mesut Özil has cemented his legacy as one of the most skillful playmakers of his generation. His vision, passing accuracy and ability to conjure up goalscoring opportunities from nothing are traits that have made him an invaluable cog in almost every team he has been part of.
Özil’s trophy cabinet boasts of a FIFA World Cup winner’s medal, multiple domestic league titles and cup wins in Germany, Spain and England. He has racked up assists and chance creation stats comparable to the very best in football history.
While he has courted controversy at times for his political views, the midfielder’s lasting impact will be that magical left foot that has tormented defenders. At 35, although Özil may be into the twilight of his career, every touch of the ball still oozes class.
Whether it was for Schalke 04 galvanizing their cup win, spearheading a Real Madrid La Liga title, ending Arsenal’s trophy drought or propelling Germany to global glory – Özil has stepped up to leave his mark for club and country over 15 years.
What is Mesut Özil’s net worth?
Mesut Özil’s current net worth is estimated to be around $120 million, as per reports. At his peak, he was one of the highest paid football stars raking in $20 million per year just from salary at Arsenal FC.
How many trophies has Mesut Özil won?
Özil has won 25 major club and international trophies so far, including the FIFA World Cup with Germany in 2014, La Liga title with Real Madrid in 2012 and three FA Cups with Arsenal.
Why did Mesut Özil retire from the German national team?
In 2018, Özil retired from international football citing racism in Germany after he was criticized for meeting Turkish president Erdogan prior to the FIFA World Cup. But he reversed his decision in 2019 and currently remains available for Germany selection.
What charity work does Mesut Özil do?
The midfielder runs a foundation named Big Shoe which uses donations to fund life-changing surgeries for children from disadvantaged backgrounds around the world. This charity work has boosted his profile.
Where does Mesut Özil currently play?
After leaving Premier League club Arsenal in 2021, Özil signed for Turkish team Fenerbahçe – the club he supported in his childhood – on a free transfer. The German playmaker continues to ply his trade in the Turkish Super Lig.