Mesut Ozil is ready to walk away from football, according to reports.
The former Arsenal playmaker is set to end his career after a spell in Turkey, where he is about to have his second club contract mutually terminated.
Ozil currently plays for Istanbul Basaksehir, having only joined them in the summer of 2022.
The 34-year-old signed a one-year deal with the club, with the option for an additional year, after agreeing to rip up his contract at Super Lig rivals Fenerbahce.
Ozil had joined Fenerbahce in January 2021 after his contract at Arsenal was also terminated six months early but, after initial fanfare, things turned bitter for the ex-Germany international and he departed after his first full season.
He has only made seven appearances for Basaksehir, but he is now ready to leave that club, too, with the 2014 World Cup winner now ready to hang up his boots.
That’s according to Turkish sports journalist Yakup Cinar, who says Ozil has told his teammates he has decided to walk away from the game.
Ozil played in Basaksehir’s 1-0 defeat to Kayserispor on Thursday, but did not turn up for training on Friday morning, with claims he wants the club to tear up his deal.
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“Mesut Ozil’s contract is being terminated – he has decided to quit football,” Cinar, who writes for Turkish sports newspaper Fanatik, posted on Twitter on Friday.
“Ozil, who was in the first 45 minutes of the Kayserispor match yesterday, did not go to Basaksehir training this morning and told his teammates that he decided to quit football.”
These reports come after comments from Ozil’s agent in 2022, where he admitted he could see the midfielder hanging up his boots soon to focus on his eSports teams and interests outside of football.
“He will go more into eSports, play himself and maybe become an eSports athlete,” said Ozil’s representative, Dr Erkut Sogut.
“He’s really good, to be honest, at Fortnite and I think one day I wouldn’t be surprised if he is competing.”
Sogut also claimed in the same interview that Fenebahce would be his last club, before his contract there was terminated, and so it’s of little surprise that he is finally ready to call it a day a year later.
Ozil’s retirement in relative obscurity in Turkey and possible transition into a career as a professional gamer would complete quite a fall from grace.
The midfielder was regarded as one of the finest creative players of his generation as he collected a host of trophies at Real Madrid and Arsenal, as well as the World Cup with Germany.
But he has had the tendency to burn bridges wherever he has gone.
He departed Real after winning a LaLiga title and two Spanish Cups to join the Gunners in 2013, with Ozil lifting four FA Cups in north London.
The midfielder was one of Arsenal’s most popular players, but a bust-up with manager Mikel Arteta saw his contract terminated after months of unrest behind the scenes, and the player shipped out to Turkey.
His move to the Super Lig hasn’t worked out, with two terminated contracts an example of how the once-celebrated star saw out his career on a constant slide.
If the reports are correct, it means Ozil would be hanging up his boots with a record of 645 club appearances, scoring 114 goals and providing 221 assists.
But it’s likely his career will be remembered as much for his multiple fall-outs than his wizardry with the ball at his feet.
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