Mesut Ozil has made his feelings perfectly clear about former club Arsenal – and hopes they win the Premier League title under Mikel Arteta this season.
The 34-year-old scored 44 goals and provided 79 assists in 254 matches for the Gunners, having joined from Real Madrid in 2013.
However, Ozil’s departure in 2021 left a sour taste in his mouth after he struggled for game time and form under both Arteta and Unai Emery.
Ozil was completely frozen out of Arsenal’s plans for the 2020/21 season and didn’t feature once before his contract was terminated in the January transfer window.
He made the switch to Fenerbahce, where he netted nine goals in 26 games.
Following a brief spell at fellow Super Lig side Istanbul Basaksehir, Ozil announced his retirement from professional football on Wednesday. When asked about his time at the Gunners and their title push this season, Ozil gave a very honest and frank answer showing there is no ill-feeling as he watches his former team in the title race.
Asked to sum up his time at Arsenal, he told Marca: “The first years were very good. We played in the Champions League, we had a great team with great players and an incredible coach like Arsene Wenger. After he left the club, many things changed for me. But I have no interest in adding fuel to the fire again.
“Now I am relaxed and I wish the best to the Arsenal fans, who have always been very supportive of me. I would be happy for them if they could celebrate the Premier League title. They deserve it!”
Ozil struck up an excellent relationship with the Arsenal fans, especially during his early years at the Emirates Stadium. He became an instant fans’ favourite after grabbing three assists on his home debut against Stoke in August 2013 – and continued to shine in his first season.
The German midfielder directly contributed to 21 goals in 40 matches as the Gunners lifted the FA Cup and finished in the top four. During his first five years at Arsenal, they qualified for the Champions League in every one of them before dropping off when Wenger departed.
Emery was unable to bring the feel good factor back to the Gunners, before it took Arteta almost two years to instil his philosophy into the Arsenal squad. After a fifth-place finish last season, Arteta’s men are on course to lift their first Premier League title since 2004.
They sit eight points clear of second-place Manchester City, although Pep Guardiola’s men have a game in hand on their opponents. As for Ozil, meanwhile, he hung up his boots earlier this week and released a heartfelt statement on social media.
It read: “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.
“It has been an amazing journey filled with unforgettable moments and emotions. I want to thank my clubs – Schalke, Werder Bremen, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Fenerbahce and Basaksehir – and the coaches who supported me, plus team-mates who have become friends.
“Special thanks must go to my family members and my closest friends. They have been a part of my journey from day one and have given me so much love and support, through the good times and the bad.
“Thank you to all my fans who have shown me so much love no matter the circumstances and no matter which club I was representing.
“Now I’m looking forward to everything that is in front of me with my beautiful wife, Amine, and my two beautiful daughters, Eda and Ela – but you can be sure that you will hear from me from time to time on my social media channels.”