London (AFP) – Mesut Ozil has opened up about being at the centre of an attempted car-jacking and his explosive resignation from the Germany team following racist abuse.
The Arsenal midfielder, his wife Amine and team-mate Sead Kolasinac were involved in a terrifying car-jacking on July 25, two weeks before the Premier League season started.
Footage on social media showed Bosnian defender Kolasinac chasing off two moped attackers, who were wearing helmets.
A man admitted in a London court earlier this month to trying to rob Ozil and Kolasinac and will be sentenced in November.
“Sead’s reaction was really, really brave because he attacked one of the attackers,” Ozil, 31, said in an interview with The Athletic published on Thursday.
“The second one was in front of my car on his moped so I couldn’t drive.
“We were newly wed and I was scared about my wife. I was scared about Sead. I wasn’t thinking about myself. I was worried they were going to open my wife’s door and they tried, so I reached across her to keep it closed.”
Ozil, currently out of favour at Arsenal, said although nobody was harmed physically, the incident shook up his wife.
“My wife wanted to get away immediately,” said the ex-Germany international.
“She didn’t feel safe. Even if I let our dogs into the garden and went out with them she would say, ‘Come in, come in, stay in the house.'”
But he said the incident did not make him want to leave London and he plans to stay until his Arsenal contract expires in 2021.
The 2014 World Cup winner has played just two matches this season, fuelling speculation over his long-term future.
– ‘Immigrant when we lose’ –
“When I signed the new deal (in 2018) I thought about it very carefully,” he said.
“I didn’t want to stay for just one or two more years, I wanted to commit and the club wanted me to do the same.
“You can go through difficult times, like this, but that is no reason to run away and I’m not going to. I’m here until at least 2021.”
Ozil spoke of his disappointment at being singled out for blame when Unai Emery’s team under-performs.
“If we don’t do well in a ‘big’ game, it’s always my fault,” said the midfielder, who joined Arsenal from Real Madrid in 2013.
“If that’s true, how do you explain our results in the ‘big’ games when I wasn’t involved?