Former Arsenal and Real Madrid Midfielder retires
Former Real Madrid and Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil has announced his retirement from professional football at age 34.
Ozil, a member of the 2014 World Cup-winning German team, has played in the Turkish Super Lig for the previous three seasons. He retires after four league games for Basaksehir, a team he signed as a free agent last year.
After receiving criticism for a photo with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and during a political debate in Germany regarding the influx of migrants, he announced his retirement from foreign service in 2018. He claimed to have experienced “racism and disrespect” because of his Turkish origin.
The midfielder played 254 times for Arsenal over a seven-year period, totaling 645 games for club and country in his career. He featured in the club’s FA Cup finals in 2014, 2015, and 2017, and he helped his team win each of those Wembley games.
“After thoughtful consideration, I’m announcing my immediate retirement from professional football,” Ozil wrote in an announcement posted to Twitter.
“I’ve had the privilege to be a professional football player for almost 17 years now and I feel incredibly thankful for the opportunity. But in recent weeks and months, having also suffered some injuries, it’s become more and more clear that it’s time to leave the big stage of football.
“It has been an amazing journey filled with unforgettable moments and emotions. I want to thank my clubs – Schalke, Werder Bremen, Real Madrid, Arsenal FC, Fenerbahçe, Basaksehir and the coaches who supported me, plus teammates who have become friends.
“Special thanks must go to my family members and my closest friends. They have been a part of my journey from day one and have given me so much love and support, through the good times and the bad.”