While opinion over Mesut Ozil remains divided in his native Germany, Arsenal fans have been rallying in support for the classy midfielder and the club’s No.10 further endeared himself to the fanbase with an incredible gesture following the Gunners’ penalty shootout win at the Aviva Stadium.
A young fan was waving a banner requesting the mercurial midfielder’s jersey throughout the tie in Dublin, Ireland and after Unai Emery’s win eked out a nail-biting win 6-5 win the shootout, Ozil duly obliged, much to the delight of the crowd.
Here’s the video, which went viral within minutes:
Ozil sparked a huge furore across Europe with his decision to retire from international football following German’s first-round exit at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
While the fact he was not going to represent Die Mannschaft anymore did raise a few eyebrows, his reasons behind the decision were what really kicked up a storm.
A third-generation Turkish-German, the Arsenal man claimed his heritage was unfairly targeted each time he/or the team played badly.
Claiming the German media and the DFB (German Football Federation) of turning the public against him, the 29-year-old declared his desire to never play for the national team again in an explosive three-part statement on all his social media handles.
Since then, a debate over whether immigrants are ever going to be first-class citizens has been raging in Germany and Ozil himself has been backed by many fans who understood his plight.
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A divisive figure in world football not just because of his heritage, but because of his languid playing style, the German is perhaps the last free-flowing No.10 in world football.
On his day he can be sublime, but often times has been accused of not putting enough of a shift for club and country.
As things stand, however, Germany’s loss is Arsenal’s gain as the midfielder will now focus solely for his club and is poised to take the Premier League by storm.
Reportedly the North Londoners’ highest earner with a weekly wage of £350,000, Ozil has been in good shape during the club’s pre-season tour.
Emery’s men play Serie A side Napoli in their final pre-season fixture of the summer at the Friends Arena in Stockholm on August 4.
They open their 2018/19 Premier League campaign with a home clash against defending champions Manchester City on August 12.