Mesut Özil, born 15 October 1988, is a German footballer who plays for English 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 Schalkein the Bundesliga in 2006, transferred to Werder Bremen in 2008 and was signed by Real Madrid in August 2010 following his break-out performance at the FIFA World Cup with Germany. On transfer deadline day of summer 2013 he moved to Arsenal for a fee of £42.5 million, a record for the club and the highest fee ever paid for a German player.
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 2010–11, Özil ranked first in assists in major European and domestic competitions with 25. In 2011–12, he ranked first in assists in La Liga with 17. Özil was the joint-highest assist provider at both the 2010 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2012, registering three at each tournament.
Here is what Özil had to say about his life.
"My Mum was a cleaner & my Dad was a coal miner. There were just three rooms in our house, two bedrooms & a living room."
"I slept in a room with my brother. We had one bed, but put a mattress on the floor for me. My sisters shared a room with my parents."
"Money was scarce. I had just one pair of football boots, which I had to keep for two or three years. I had to fix them with tape."
"I would go to matches & see children with new boots. I was embarrassed to take mine out."
"You can have the best boots, but that doesn't make you the best on the pitch. I was the best player, that gave me confidence."