One of the most gifted footballers on the planet, Mesut Özil has had his fair share of criticism. While many have pointed out the fact that he goes missing in big games or that he’s not quality against good defenses, there’s no arguing that on his day, he can tear any defense apart. Here then, are 10 things that you didn’t know about Mesut Özil.
Özil prays in the tunnel
One of the foremost things about Mesut Özil is that he is a religious man, and rightly so as he prays from the Quran before every game in the tunnel. A man of Islamic faith, Özil says it helps him stay calm and focus on the details.
Özil is of Turkish origin
Mesut Özil was born in Turkey, but moved to Germany at age 2 with his father Mustafa. His family belongs to the north-eastern provinces of Turkey and he can speak Turkish language fluently. It is no surprise then, that someday fans expect him to be playing for one of the Turkish clubs. His country of origin is yet another interesting reveal about Mesut Özil.
Mesut Özil was shunned by Alex Ferguson
After his impressive showing in the 2010 World Cup with Germany, a host of big clubs wanted to sign Mesut Özil. However not many know this about Mesut Özil that Wayne Rooney, then a Manchester United player, wanted his legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson to sign Özil from Schalke 04. Ferguson wouldn’t budge and ultimately Özil ended up in Real Madrid. Isn’t it riveting about Mesut Özil?
Mesut Özil was a Street Footballer
Özil grew up on the streets of Germany, playing on the streets and what is popularly called ‘The Monkey Cage’. This explains his wonderful dribbling skills, quick decision making in tight spaces and tracking movement of players. Adversity always, is the answer. Another gripping fact about Mesut Özil.
Mesut Özil was called Nemo
Upon his move to Real Madrid, Mesut Özil immediately came to be known as Nemo from the Hollywood flick ‘Finding Nemo‘. His sharp looks, coupled with his sleek movements made him look similar to the Pixar character and it is a nickname that has followed him. A fascinating fact about Mesut Özil!
Özil has been recognized by Germany
The German government has awarded Özil the Bambi award as a recognition to his flawless and smooth integration into German society coming from Turkey at a young age. He also represented Germany at the youth levels before being one of the key members of the World Cup winning squad of 2014 in Brazil. Another compelling evidence about Mesut Özil’s impact.
Mesut Özil will Never play for Germany again
In what came as a shocker to fans in 2018, Mesut Özil, following the photographing scandal with the Turkish PM in London, announced he will not turn up for Germany ever again having been humiliated by the treatment dished out by the German FA & the German people. German FA also went ahead and banned him for 6 months following the photograph. This is one sad incident to know about Mesut Özil.
Mesut Özil is a playmaker of the finest quality. No surprise that he is also known as the German Messi by many. He made his move from Schalke 04 to Real Madrid in 2010 and the immediate next year, he topped the assist list with 25 in Spain and Europe. The year after that, he ended up with 17 assists, another record that stands till date. Action-packed is this fact about Mesut Özil!
Mesut Özil is married to a supermodel
Özil has had many girlfriends over the past but in 2018 he decided to tie the knot with Miss Turkey Amine Gulse. Amine speaks four languages and the couple got hitched in her favorite city of Istanbul. A romantic fact about Mesut Özil?
Mesut Özil and Manuel Neuer were Schoolmates
Mesut Özil grew up at the Rot-Weiss Essen club and studied at the Gesamtschule Berger Feld School near the Veltins Arena, the home of Schalke 04 after his move to the German powerhouse. He and Manuel Neuer studied in the same school and represented them in school tournaments as well.
In fact, they grew to prominence for Schalke at around the same time before their paths divided. Özil went to Real Madrid while Neuer was snapped up by Bayern Munich.