Player Profile of Mesut Ozil, Germany’s Messi

Photo by Jan S0L0

When Mesut Ozil joined Real Madrid this past summer, some wondered who he was and where he had come from, especially considering his dazzling performances in South Africa.

Mesut Ozil was born 15th October 1988 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. He quickly established himself as a key player to the Gelsenkirchen team and he continued to play for an array of teams until Schalke 04 came knocking. He grasped the opportunity with both hands and joined them in 2005 when he was only 17. He originally came in as a replacement for the suspended Lincoln and excelled against Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich. His talent was extraordinary and he was immediately asserted into the first team.

Unfortunately he fell out with the club staff at Schalke and in January 2008 he moved to Werder Bremen for a reported fee of €4.3 million, signing a 3 year contract. He was the ideal replacement for Brazilian Diego who had departed Bremen to join Serie A big guns Juventus. He didn’t get much playing time in that first season due to arriving in the January transfer window but in his second season he impressed, helping Werder to the last ever UEFA Cup as they eventually lost out to Shakhtar Donetsk. He continued to impress and by the end of his second season he had grabbed an impressive 3 goals and 15 assists as he was proving to be a real hit with the fans. His third and final season at Werder Bremen was what got him noticed on the international scene as he sensationally scored 9 goals and provided 21 assists in 31 appearances.

He was chosen for the German national side to contest at the U-21 European Championships and he was key to their success leading them to victory at the final over England 4-0. He was rapidly evolving as an outstanding individual player and within 2 years he was contesting for the national side. The German U-21 coach Horst Hrubesch paid tribute to Ozil and he was famously quoted to have said, “We in Germany are prone to rave about foreign players. We praise Wayne Rooney to the heavens, likewise (Cristiano) Ronaldo or Messi. But we have our own Messi. Our Messi is Ozil.”

It was at the World Cup 2010 at which he marked his territory and became a household name. He continually performed miraculously as he helped Germany in finishing third. He featured in all of Germany’s group games and even scored a fantastic volley to secure a 1-0 win over Ghana. He was again instrumental in the Germans demolition of struggling England as he provided the cross of Thomas Muller to round off an inspirational 4-1 win over the English. He received endless praise for his World Cup displays and he was shortlisted for the ‘Golden Ball’ award at the World Cup and he was also shortlisted as a nominee for the Ballon D’or.

After the World Cup he attracted global media attention as people were debating where he would go next. He decided to move to Real Madrid ignoring the pleas from Manchester United and Chelsea. In 16 appearances so far in La Liga (as of 12th December 2010) for the Galactico’s, Ozil boasts 4 goals and 6 assists to his name.

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