Murat Öztürk is a journalist with the Turkish newspaper Karar and works for transfermarkt.com.tr. He writes exclusively for SPORT BILD about the big Süper Lig clubs and the Turkish national team.
I have reached a point where I can no longer escape the column on Mesut Özil (33 years old) which has been postponed for months. I am actually writing this article as a big fan of Özil who has admired him and his successes for years. But that’s only in passing.
I would like to briefly anticipate what I really wanted to write at the end: Unfortunately, I must say that football has already abandoned Özil. And right now we are just waiting for Özil to stop playing football.
An excellent career, crowned by the 2014 World Cup, just like in a fairy tale…
I had the opportunity to see him for the first time during the preparation camp with Werder Bremen in Antalya Belek. I said to my boyfriend at the time: “He’s going to play for Real Madrid!”
It didn’t take long to happen…
We don’t need to talk about it for long. You Germans know best what Mesut Özil can achieve on and off the pitch. Among other things, he has a magical left foot.
In my opinion, the successful career at Real Madrid should have continued. I also think it ended completely absurd.
Photo: photo alliance / dpa
Then the move to Arsenal with Arsene Wenger…
He played with him at the highest level for five seasons. And now what?
“Boris with blue eyes!”
Arsene Wenger has retired and quit his job at Arsenal. Özil had come to the beginning of his end.
Why am I telling you this? After the 2018/19 season, we couldn’t recognize the then 29-year-old Mesut Özil. He was no longer the Mesut we knew. In the game, he “engaged”, from time to time he is the star, but there was no question of stability. And for the last season and a half of his career at Arsenal, he was almost invisible on the pitch.
Photo: Arsenal FC/Getty Images
Arsenal focused on a new player, Mesut in turn on his bank account.
After 2019, Özil slowly became available for Turkish football. Because now the playmaker’s career has gone downhill, he had no future in Europe.
And we always dreamed that one day we could see it in Turkey.
In January 2021, the time had finally come, the dream had come true. Ali Koç, son of Turkey’s richest family, made Mesut Özil a Fenerbahçe player. The biggest transfer of recent years. According to news in Turkey, Özil had agreed to an annual fee of 6 million euros. The private jet he flew to Istanbul was followed live by 300,000 people.
Incredible fan interest. And the salary paid to Özil – sheer madness!
But back to the field…
Honestly, I was actually hoping that this excessive interest would help him find enjoyment in football again.
Unfortunately I was wrong…
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Many football authorities felt he should be given until the end of the season as he hadn’t really played at Arsenal for a long time and lacked training. I agreed. He spent the rest of the season alongside Erol Bulut and Emre Belözoğlu, who had great faith in him. Ten games on the pitch, eleven games in the stands because of his injuries. He failed to convince, but neither was he criticized.
I would now like to come back briefly with you to the start of the 2021/2022 season.
In fact, this season can be split in two from Mesut Özil and Fenerbahçe’s point of view, but unfortunately both halves didn’t go particularly well for Özil.
Fener coach Vitor Pereira, surprisingly recruited at the start of the season, let Mesut Özil, who had made an excellent start to the season, simmer on the substitutes’ bench. He justified it by saying that he didn’t run enough and didn’t try hard enough. Many authorities have taken the opposite view. According to her, Mesut played very well.
During Pereira’s time, Mesut could only start in the top eleven in four out of twelve league matches.
Under pressure from the media and fans, Ali Koç asked Vitor Pereira to bring Mesut Özil into the match. It was only until the end of Pereira’s time that Özil played regularly in the starting XI.
And now the time with İsmail Kartal, which has gone much worse for Özil. In addition, there is the expulsion from the team.
It was with the game against Antalyaspor that İsmail Kartal started his work, winning ten games out of 14, drawing three and losing only one game.
Ismail Kartal’s Fenerbahçe have done wonders without Mesut Özil. And this time, nobody puts pressure on the president, nobody asks why Mesut Özil is not in the game. Mesut lost the support of Ali Koç and the fans.
Mesut Özil will not return to İsmail Kartal’s team. When he was substituted midway through Konyaspor due to his poor performance, he scolded the coach in German and threw his boots away.
It is clear that the 2021/2022 season will end badly for Mesut.
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Özil expects forgiveness, but that’s not how it works.
Rumor has it that Ali Koç doesn’t want to continue working with İsmail Kartal in the new season, although he succeeded. Instead, he should continue with Jorge Jesus or Joachim Löw.
Fenerbahçe must make a choice: either he takes into account the conveniences of Mesut Özil and prefers a coach who builds a game plan accordingly. Either they continue to sponsor the holidays of Mesut, who still has a contract until the end of June 2024.
Mesut Ozil enjoyed Arsenal money at 30 without playing. And now he is enjoying Fenerbahçe, one of the biggest clubs in Turkey that he loves so much.
The first victim Arsenal, the second Fenerbahçe.
As I said at the beginning: Mesut Özil gave up football a long time ago. Now we have to wait and see that Mesut finally quits football.