The former Real Madrid and Arsenal player was a key member of Germany’s World Cup winning side in Brazil in 2014.
Mesut Özil, winner of the World Cup in Germany, has announced his retirement at the age of 34.
The former Real Madrid and Arsenal footballer was part of Germany’s World Cup winning squad in Brazil in 2014.
He pulled out of the national squad in 2018 amid a political debate in Germany over an influx of migrants and refugees and after backlash over a photo taken with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, saying he was dealing with ” racism and disrespect” because of his Turkish origin.
“I announce my immediate retirement from professional football. I have had the privilege of being a professional footballer for almost 17 years now and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity,” Ozil said in a statement posted to his social media accounts on Wednesday.
“But in recent weeks and months, after also suffering some injuries, it is becoming increasingly clear that it is time to leave the big football stage.”
Thanks ❤️ pic.twitter.com/Aqr4pB5SI2
— Mesut Ozil (@M10) March 22, 2023
Özil thanked his fans who “showed him so much love, regardless of the circumstances and which club I represented”.
He said he had experienced “racist” attacks following Germany’s exit in the first round of the 2018 World Cup.
“I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose,” Ozil said on his departure from the German national team.
Özil started his career in Germany with his hometown club Schalke before a good spell at Werder Bremen earned him a spot in the German national team.
Standout performances for Germany at the 2010 World Cup were followed by a move to Real Madrid. He then had an eight-year spell at Arsenal.
Ozil moved to Turkish club Fenerbahce in 2021 after his relationship with Arsenal broke down. He was left out of the Arsenal squad for months before his departure following a split with manager Mikel Arteta.
The club also distanced itself from Ozil for posting his support for Muslims in China’s Xinjiang province, comments that led to an Arsenal match being pulled from Chinese television.
Ozil won the Spanish La Liga title with Real Madrid in 2012 and four FA Cups with Arsenal in 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2020.
He joined Basaksehir in 2022. The Turkey-born Germany international has scored 23 goals in 92 appearances for Germany.