Who Is Mesut Özil?
After beginning his professional soccer career with FC Schalke 04, Mesut Özil emerged as a star midfielder for SV Werder Bremen and the German national team during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Özil parlayed his international success into a prominent role with Real Madrid before announcing his transfer to England's Arsenal F.C. in 2013.
Soccer player Mesut Özil was born on October 15, 1988, in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. The grandson of a Turkish immigrant, he developed his soccer skills alongside friends in the "Monkey Cage," a local pitch surrounded by fences. After playing for a series of smaller youth programs, he joined the pipeline of Gelsenkirchen's FC Schalke 04 in 2005.
Özil became a member of the Schalke senior team and the German junior national team in 2006, but despite his promising talents he was allowed to transfer to SV Werder Bremen in 2008. The midfielder flourished within his new club, with his impeccable ball-control skills and creative passing helping to lift Werder Bremen to victories in the 2009 DFB Cup and DFL Supercup.
Özil starred for Germany during the 2009 U-21 European Championship, earning Man of the Match honors for his goal and two assists in a resounding 4-0 finals victory over England. His ascent continued after he was selected to the 2010 FIFA World Cup squad, where he displayed his remarkable all-around abilities. Özil scored once and provided several assists to help Germany achieve a third-place finish, thus earning him a spot among the 10 nominees for the tournament's Golden Ball Award.
The performance transformed Özil from a promising talent to a bona fide star. He was hailed as the "multi-kulti kicker" in Germany, celebrated for being the first national team player from an immigrant background to enjoy such international success. He also drew increased attention from several top European clubs. After transferring to Spain's prestigious Real Madrid club in 2010, the midfielder teamed with scoring machine Cristiano Ronaldo to propel Real to a league title and victories in the Copa del Rey and Spanish Super Cup championships.
In September 2013, Özil made headlines with the announcement of his transfer to England's Arsenal F.C. The talented playmaker's presence was expected to quickly vault Arsenal back into the ranks of the European elite.
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