Mesut Ozil, the former Arsenal midfielder, has announced his retirement from professional football at the age of 34. The German footballer made the announcement midway through Istanbul Basaksehir’s season, citing injuries and a desire to leave the “big stage of football” as reasons for his decision. Ozil began his professional career with Schalke 04 before moving to Werder Bremen in 2008, where he became a certified Bundesliga star. His epic performances for Germany at the 2010 World Cup secured a £13m move to Real Madrid that same summer. Ozil won LaLiga and the Copa del Rey during his time in the Spanish capital before joining Arsenal in 2013 for £42.5m. He ended up with 44 goals in 254 appearances for Arsenal, winning three FA Cups in four years. During this time, he also lifted the World Cup with Germany at Brazil 2014. However, Ozil’s minutes were limited under Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta following Arsene Wenger’s exit, and he eventually moved to Turkey with Fenerbahce in January 2021. He lasted 18 months with the Istanbul giants before joining city rivals Basaksehir last summer. Ozil failed to score in just eight appearances for his new side before calling a day on his career, last playing in a Super Lig defeat to Kayserispor on February 2.
In a lengthy statement on social media, Ozil thanked all of the clubs he played for, including Arsenal and Real Madrid, as well as his coaches and teammates who supported him throughout his career. He also expressed gratitude to his family members and closest friends who have been with him from day one and given him so much love and support through the good times and the bad. Ozil also thanked his fans who have shown him so much love no matter the circumstances and no matter which club he was representing. He ended his statement by saying that he is looking forward to everything that is in front of him with his wife and two daughters, but that fans can be sure they will hear from him from time to time on his social media channels.
Ozil’s retirement marks the end of a career stacked with trophies and accolades. He was once regarded as the best No10 in world football, bursting onto the scene with Schalke in 2006 before becoming a certified Bundesliga star when he joined Werder Bremen in 2008. However, it was his epic performances for Germany at the 2010 World Cup that secured his move to Real Madrid that same summer. Ozil won LaLiga and the Copa del Rey during his time in the Spanish capital before joining Arsenal in 2013. He quickly became an Emirates cult hero, winning an incredible three FA Cups in four years and scoring 44 goals in 254 appearances for the Gunners.
Despite his success at Arsenal, Ozil started to find his minutes limited under Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta following Arsene Wenger’s exit. He eventually moved to Turkey with Fenerbahce in January 2021, lasting 18 months with the Istanbul giants before joining city rivals Basaksehir last summer. However, he failed to score in just eight appearances for his new side before calling a day on his career, last playing in a Super Lig defeat to Kayserispor on February 2.
Ozil’s retirement has been met with tributes from across the footballing world. Arsenal tweeted: “Thank you for the memories, Mesut – and all the best for the future.” Former Arsenal teammate Jack Wilshere said: “Congratulations on an amazing career bro! It was a pleasure to share the pitch with you and learn from you.” Meanwhile, Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher tweeted: “Mesut Ozil has retired from football. A wonderful player who was a joy to watch at times.”
Despite retiring from professional football, Ozil is expected to remain involved in the sport in some capacity. He has previously expressed an interest in coaching and has also been involved in various charitable initiatives throughout his career.