Former Arsenal, Real Madrid and Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil has retired from football at the age of 34. Ozil was considered one of the greatest midfielders of his generation.
It has been an amazing journey filled with unforgettable moments and emotions,” Ozil said in a statement on social media.
Throughout his club career, Ozil was able to secure a total of nine trophies, among which were four FA Cups and the Spanish La Liga championship in 2012. In addition, he earned 92 caps while playing for Germany and was a vital member of the team that claimed victory in the 2014 World Cup held in Brazil.
“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.”
The 34-year-old midfielder walked away from Germany’s national football team in 2018, citing racism both from within the team and broader German society. It was one of the most stinging critiques of Germany’s failure to learn how to integrate itself with the country’s Turkish population.
“I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose,” Ozil said at the time of his departure from the German national team.
“It is with a heavy heart and after much consideration that because of recent events, I will no longer be playing for Germany at international level whilst I have this feeling of racism and disrespect,” he wrote on Twitter at the time.
“I used to wear the German shirt with such pride and excitement, but now I don’t … Racism should never, ever be accepted.”