Mesut Özil hangs up his boots after 17 years of professional football

Mesut Ozil, one of the most creative midfielders of his generation, has announced his retirement from professional football at the age of 34.

The former Arsenal, Real Madrid and Germany star revealed his decision on social media, citing injuries as one of the reasons for hanging up his boots.

“After thoughtful consideration, I’m announcing my immediate retirement from professional football. I’ve had the privilege to be a professional football player for almost 17 years now and I feel incredibly thankful for the opportunity. But in recent weeks and months, having also suffered some injuries, it’s become more and more clear that it’s time to leave the big stage of football,” he wrote.

Ozil’s last appearance was on February 2, when he played only 45 minutes for Istanbul Basaksehir in a 1-0 loss at Kayserispor in the Turkish Super Lig. He had joined Basaksehir on a free transfer from Fenerbahce last summer, but made only two starts for the club.

Ozil thanked his clubs, coaches, teammates, family members and fans for their support throughout his 17-year career, which saw him win several trophies and accolades.

He started his senior career at Schalke 04 in 2006, before moving to Werder Bremen in 2008. He won the DFB-Pokal with Bremen in 2009, and also reached the UEFA Cup final that year.

He rose to fame at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, where he helped Germany reach the semi-finals and was named as one of the best young players of the tournament. He also became the joint-highest assist provider at the World Cup and Euro 2012.

His impressive performances attracted the interest of Real Madrid, who signed him for €15 million in 2010. He spent three seasons at the Santiago Bernabeu, winning La Liga, Copa del Rey and Supercopa de Espana titles. He also registered 25 assists in his first season, which was the highest for any player in any major European competition that season.

In 2013, he moved to Arsenal for a then club-record fee of £42.5 million. He became a fan favourite at the Emirates Stadium, winning four FA Cups and two Community Shields with the Gunners. He also won the PFA Fans’ Player of the Month award in April 2015.

He was also a key member of Germany’s national team, winning the World Cup in 2014 and finishing third in 20101. He made 92 appearances for his country, scoring 23 goals. He was voted as Germany’s best international player of 2011.

Ozil said he was looking forward to spending more time with his wife Amine and his two daughters Eda and Ela. He also hinted that he would stay active on social media channels.

Ozil will be remembered as one of the most gifted playmakers of his era, who dazzled fans with his vision, technique and creativity.

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