born 15 October 1988) is a German footballer who plays for English Premier League club Arsenal and the German national team. Özil has been a youth national team member since 2006, and a member of the German national team since 2009. He gained international attention during the 2010 FIFA World Cup and was nominated for the Golden Ball Award, which is awarded to the tournament's best player. Özil started his senior career at hometown club Schalke in the Bundesliga in 2006, transferred to Werder Bremen in 2008 and transferred to Real Madrid in August 2010 following his breakout performance at the FIFA World Cup with Germany.
Özil is acclaimed for his finesse and improvisation as an attacking midfielder. His style and ability for providing assists for his team-mates has been compared by former manager José Mourinho to that of Real Madrid legend Zinedine Zidane. In 2011, Özil ranked first in assists in major European and domestic competitions with 25. In 2012, he ranked first in assists in La Liga with 17. He was also one of the top assist providers in the 2010 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2012 with 3 in both.
In 2005, Özil moved to the youth department of FC Schalke 04. He was a midfielder and wore 17 as his squad number, after starting as a playmaker and central attacking midfielder in the place of the suspended Lincoln in Ligapokal matches against Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich. On making the first team there, he was described as "the next big thing," but he eventually fell out with club management and moved on to Werder Bremen in January 2008.
Özil with Werder Bremen in April 2010
On 31 January 2008, Özil moved to Werder Bremen for a reported fee of €4.3 million, signing a contract with the German club until 30 June 2011.Fresh off his fallout at Schalke 04, he stepped into the shoes of Brazilian playmaker Diego to help lead the north German club to the 2009 DFB-Pokal with the winning goal in a 1–0 victory over Bayer Leverkusen in Berlin. He also excelled in Europe where he led Werder Bremen to the final of the last ever UEFA Cup, losing out to Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine.Although Bremen failed to get going in their 2008–09 Bundesliga season, eventually finishing a disappointing 10th, Özil managed to make a significant impact in most games and came away with a respectable three goals and 15 assists that highlighted his attacking credentials.In his second season, Bremen finished a respectable third, with Özil contributing 9 goals and 17 assists in 31 league fixture appearances.
Özil playing for Real Madrid in 2010
Due to his performances in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Özil ensured his place among Europe's top young talents. He was sought by teams like Barcelona, Arsenal, and Manchester United and reports even claimed that a deal was struck for a transfer to Barça. Werder Bremen denied the report and on 17 August 2010, the team announced that they had reached an agreement with Real Madrid. The transfer fee is believed to have been in the region of €15 million.Upon signing, Özil said, "When the offer came in to join Real Madrid, there is no decision to make. Let's be honest – you don't refuse this club. I was in no rush to leave Werder Bremen, but this is one club you say yes to. They are an institution, a club with a fantastic history, stadium and squad full of world-class players. The prospect of performing at the Bernabeu is so awesome you jump straight in."Özil made his debut on 22 August in a friendly match against Hércules, which Real Madrid won 3–1. His jersey numbers were changed often before the season started. He was given the number 26 in the pre-season and 19 for his debut. But following the transfer of Rafael van der Vaart to Tottenham Hotspur, he was given the vacant 23.
Özil was brought in to back up teammate Kaká, but due to his surgery, Özil obtained a starting role. He then made his La Liga debut for Real Madrid as a substitute for Ángel di María in the 62nd minute against Mallorca, which Real Madrid drew 0–0.
Özil taking on Daniele Bonera of Milan during the 2010–11 UEFA Champions League.
He made his season debut in the Champions League on 15 September. He got his first assist with Real Madrid in the 74th minute against Ajax after he crossed for a Gonzalo Higuaín goal.
He walked off the pitch as a second half substitute to standing ovations in his first two games as a starter at the Santiago Bernabéu. His first goal came in a league match against Deportivo La Coruña on 3 October 2010, in a 6–1 victory. Özil's first Champions League goal with Real came in the 14th minute against Milan on 19 October 2010. On 22 December, he made his debut in the Copa del Rey, scoring once in a 8–0 victory over Levante.
He finished the season with 25 assists, the highest for any player in any major European competition that season. Özil's performances for Real Madrid during his first season were praised by media, fans and players.
Özil began wearing the number 10 shirt for Real Madrid in 2011–12, signalling manager José Mourinho's intent to use the German international as his main playmaker.On 14 August 2011, Özil scored his first goal against Barcelona in El Clásico in the first leg of the 2011 Supercopa de España. On 17 August 2011, Özil was sent off in the last minute of the second leg of the 2011 Supercopa after an altercation with Barça forward David Villa. Özil expressed his desire to end his football days at the club in an interview with German magazine kicker, saying, "I'd like to end my career at Real Madrid. I know it will be difficult because I have many more years ahead of me and many younger and good players will also be out there, but I want to be part of that future. I know what I'm capable of and I'm convinced I'll stay at Real Madrid many years."
Özil was on the short-list of 2011–12-year's FIFA Ballon d'Or award.
Özil's boots on display at the Santiago Bernabeu museum
He finished atop the La Liga assists chart,with 17 assists. On 2 May 2012, he helped Real Madrid to clinch its 32nd La Liga title as he assisted Real Madrid's first goal and scored the second goal against Bilbao, which Real Madrid later won by 3–0. Eleven days later, Özil scored two goals in the final game of the regular season against RCD Mallorca, once again consolidating his excellent performance with the club. The win made Real the first club in the Spanish top flight to ever reach 100 points in a season.His fine form with Real Madrid and German national team saw him earn nomination for UEFA Best Player in Europe Award, in which he finished 10th, being youngest in Top 10.
With arrival of Luka Modrić before the start of the season, some in the media claimed Özil was unhappy at Real Madrid, but he later rejected such talk and claimed he was happy at the club and looking forward to compete for his place. After the start of the season, he added the Spanish Super Cup title to his honours. In league play, he provided an important assist to Cristiano Ronaldo who equalized in a 2–2 draw against Barcelona at Camp Nou. On 6 November, Özil scored a crucial 89th-minute free-kick to rescue a draw for Real Madrid and secure a point against Borussia Dortmund.He continued his fine form in the league as he scored another brace against Real Valladolid to rescue Real Madrid in a 3–2 win.He then went on to finish the season with 29 assists, although Real Madrid did not win any silverware except for the Spanish Super Cup, Özil's performance was praised. At the end of the season Ozil had more assists then any other player in the league, with 26 assists.
Özil taking a free-kick for Arsenal.
On 2 September 2013, Özil agreed to join English side Arsenal. Both fee and contract duration were undisclosed, but they are believed to be around £42.5 million for a five-year deal. The transfer makes him the most expensive German football player of all time. Özil was assigned the number 11 shirt.
Özil said of transfer: “At the weekend, I was certain I would stay at Real Madrid but afterwards I realised I did not have the faith from the coach or the bosses. I am a player who needs this faith and that is what I have felt from Arsenal, which is why I have joined. Several Real Madrid players were dissatisfied with Özil leaving the club, namely Ronaldo who said: "He was the player who best knew my moves in front of goal...I'm angry about Özil leaving."
Özil made his debut for Arsenal in their league game away to Sunderland on 14 September 2013. He assisted Olivier Giroud's goal in the 11th minute of the match. They went on to win the match 1–3. Three days after that, he made his Champions League debut for Arsenal against Marseille. Özil made his home debut against Stoke City in a 3-1 victory. He was involved in all 3 goals, with 2 assists and a free kick on which Aaron Ramsey scored on the rebound.