During the Qatar World Cup, local fans hit back at Germany’s team by holding pictures of the former footballer.
Germany’s World Cup-winning midfielder Mesut Ozil will hang up his boots after announcing his retirement at the age of 34.
Beloved by fans worldwide, the former Real Madrid and Arsenal footballer’s injuries got the best of him after playing for almost two decades on the international pitch.
“I’m announcing my immediate retirement from professional football. I’ve had the privilege to be a professional football player for almost 17 years now, and I feel incredibly thankful for the opportunity,” Ozil wrote in a statement on his social media accounts on Wednesday.
“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 former German international added.
Despite facing discrimination during his career, Ozil thanked his fans who have “shown him so much love no matter the circumstances and which club [he] was representing.”
Remembered for his World Cup achievements with Germany, the star
made his senior debut for the national team in 2009, ultimately becoming the top assist provider at the 2010 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2012, where he aided his country in reaching the semi-final.
In Brazil’s 2014 World Cup, Ozil edged Germany to win the tournament as the team left their mark, defeating the hosts 7-1 in the final.
Ozil concluded the tournament as the leader in passes in the final third (171), was ranked joint-second in chances created (17) behind the notable Lionel Messi (23), and ranked second overall in possessions won in the final third (6).
In 2018, Ozil would be selected again to don the Germany jersey for the World Cup, but the squad would face an early exit as they would be eliminated in the group stages.
The star was vocal about his experiences pertaining to racial abuse on and off the pitch, and following Germany’s first-round exit in the 2018 World Cup, he voiced the now-famed quote, “I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose.”
Originally Turkish, Ozil retired from the team as a form of protest against members of the Germany Federation in 2018.
Outside the German national team, Ozil was left out of the Arsenal squad as his relationship with coach Mikel Arteta plunged.
The top-flight club would place distance between the star after his comments on the persecution of Muslims in the Xinjiang province of China.
Regardless of the bleak on the English and German pitch, the footballer bagged numerous titles with Real Madrid and will stand today as one, if not the, most promising German players to play the game.