Mesut Ozil announces retirement at age of 34
Former Arsenal and Real Madrid midfielder Mesut Ozil has announced his retirement from football at the age of 34.
The 92-cap Germany international, who won the World Cup with his country in 2014, also represented Schalke, Werder Bremen, Fenerbahce and Istanbul Basaksehir during his 17-year career.
Ozil was under contract with Turkish side Basaksehir until the end of the season, but he has called time on his playing career due to a number of injury issues.
"After thoughtful consideration, I'm announcing my immediate retirement from professional football," he wrote in a statement on his personal Twitter account on Wednesday.
"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."
Ozil started his career with Schalke before moving to fellow Bundesliga side Werder Bremen, where his impressive form across three seasons led to a move to Madrid.
In three campaigns at the Santiago Bernabeu, the German playmaker won a LaLiga title, a Copa del Rey and the Supercopa de Espana.
He joined Arsenal in a big-money deal in September 2013 and was arguably the best number 10 in world football for a period.
Indeed, the 146 chances Ozil created in 2015-16 remains the most ever in a single Premier League campaign.
After seven and a half years in north London, during which time he won four FA Cups, Ozil joined Fenerbahce on a free transfer after his Arsenal contract was terminated.
Ozil spent two largely unsuccessful seasons with Fener before making the switch to Basaksehir, where he had been restricted to just four league appearances this season.
"It has been an amazing journey filled with unforgettable moments and emotions," Ozil added in his statement.
"I want to thank my clubs – Schalke 04, Werder Bremen, Real Madrid, Arsenal FC, Fenerbahce, Basaksehir and the coaches who supported me, plus team-mates 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.
"Thank you to all my fans who have shown me so much love no matter the circumstances and no matter which club I was representing.
"Now I'm looking forward to everything that is in front of me with my beautiful wife, Amine, and my two beautiful daughters, Eda and Ela – but you can be sure that you will hear from me from time to time on my social media channels. See you soon, Mesut!"
At international level, Ozil started all seven of Germany's matches in their triumphant World Cup 2014 campaign.
He scored 23 goals in 92 appearances, the most recent of those caps coming against South Korea at the 2018 World Cup.