RANKED: Mesut Ozil's greatest Arsenal moments
Mesut Ozil has officially brought the curtain down on his glittering career. The 2014 World Cup winner announced the news on his social media channels following a brief spell with Istanbul Basaksehir.
"I've had the privilege to be a professional football player for almost 17 years now and I feel incredibly thankful for the opportunity,” Ozil said. “But in recent weeks and months, having also suffered some injuries, it's become more and more clear that its time to leave the big stage of football."
The announcement has understandably seen tributes flood in from fans all around the world, not least at Arsenal, where Ozil spent more than seven years following his move from Real Madrid in 2013.
🏆 TOP STORY: Chelsea set to axe Auba over Barca trip
📣 HAVE YOUR SAY: Is Mbappe really ready to captain France?
🚨 MUST READ: Viva Garnacho! Inside Man Utd star's rise
The German hit some great heights in north London during his spell with the Gunners. But what were his stand out moments with the Premier League club? GOAL takes a look...
- Cristiano Ronaldo's interview, Ben Foster's penalty save and the 21 craziest moments of the season
- Look what happens when you leave Tottenham, Harry Kane! Eleven ex-Spurs stars who won trophies after departing White Hart Lane
- Harry Kane, Mason Mount and the 10 players Man Utd are most likely to sign in the 2023 summer transfer window
- Barcelona ratings: Every Blaugrana player's performance in the 2022-23 season - ranked
#10 The day he signed
No Arsenal fan will forget the drama of that deadline day in 2013.
News broke that Arsenal were trying to get a deal done with Real Madrid for Ozil the night before, just hours after the Gunners had beaten Spurs 1-0 in the North London Derby.
Fans went into meltdown at the prospect of landing one of Europe’s top playmakers, with hundreds gathering outside the Emirates as the clock ticked down awaiting confirmation that the deal had been done.
It went right to the wire, but Arsenal got the £42.4 million move over the line - smashing their transfer record in the process and sending all those fans who were outside the stadium into ecstasy.
Those scenes, which were shown live on Sky Sports, will live long in the memory.
- Getty Images
#9 The debut assist
It took Ozil just 11 minutes to make his mark in an Arsenal shirt.
His debut came at Sunderland in the Premier League and he had the eyes of the world on him following his big money move from Real Madrid.
But if he felt any pressure, then he certainly didn’t show it, as he put in a performance that would set the tone for the majority of his Arsenal career.
On 11 minutes he raced down the left wing and gracefully brought a Kieran Gibbs long ball under control with one superb touch with his left foot.
Ozil then looked up and played a perfect pass into the path of Olivier Giroud, who didn’t even have to break stride as he rolled a first time finish into the bottom corner.
Arsenal’s record signing was up and running.
#8 The Newcastle volley
Ozil scored plenty of fine goals during his time at Arsenal, but none were more spectacular than the volley he produced against Newcastle in December 2017.
In a tight and scrappy game, Ozil produced the one moment of magic that ensured it was Arsenal that left with all three points.
It came after an Alexis Sanchez shot had been blocked and the ball looped back towards Ozil on the edge of the box. There appeared to be little on, but the playmaker produced a stunning volley which flew over a crowd of players in front of him and nestled into the top corner.
On this day last year, Mesut did a madness! 💥— Arsenal (@Arsenal) December 16, 2018
😱 @MesutOzil1088 pic.twitter.com/TnqFDZ3dQY
A stunning goal.
- Getty Images
#7 His first Arsenal goal
It took Ozil five games to get his first Arsenal goal, but when it arrived it was certainly worth waiting for.
It came against Napoli in the Champions League on a raucous night at Emirates Stadium in 2013.
The finish was masterful, carefully caressing Aaron Ramsey’s cross into the corner of the net with a wonderfully timed half-volley on the run.
It was a super goal which set Arsenal on their way to an impressive European victory.
#6 Destroying Man Utd
Arsenal’s first half demolition of Manchester United in 2015 was something to behold.
Alexis Sanchez may have scored twice, but Ozil was the heart of everything as United were put to the sword during a thrilling opening 20 minutes which saw Arsenal find the net three times.
Ozil set up Sanchez for the first and then scored the second himself a minute later. United had no answer to the Arsenal playmaker as the hosts cruised to a 3-0 win.
- Getty Images
#5 The 2015-16 season
The 2015-16 season was Ozil’s finest individual campaign in an Arsenal shirt. He finished it with 19 Premier League assists, which at the time was a number that had only been bettered by Thierry Henry, who clocked up 20 in 2002-03.
Kevin De Bruyne has also since surpassed it, but many Arsenal fans will point to that season and say Ozil was let down by his team-mates.
Had it not been for some wasteful finishing over the final months of the campaign, Ozil’s assist total would have been far higher than 19.
In total, he created 146 chances for his team-mates in 2015-16, a record that still holds to this day.
#4 Those chopped finishes
The Ozil ‘chop’ finish was the thing of legend at Arsenal.
Very few players would even attempt to score a goal when clean through by deliberately chopping down on the ball and bouncing it over the onrushing goalkeeper, but Ozil did it on a regular basis.
Ozil scored goals against Bournemouth and Crystal Palace using his trademark finish, although perhaps the most famous example came when he used it to beat Simon Mignolet during a 3-3 draw with Liverpool in December 2017.
That goal came at the end of a remarkable three-minute period which saw Arsenal come from two goals behind to lead 3-2. The celebrations and roar that greeted it have rarely been beaten at the Emirates Stadium.
🎩 A moment of magic from @MesutOzil1088 against Liverpool 🤩 pic.twitter.com/1RyhaLsTHp— Arsenal (@Arsenal) October 30, 2019
“I’ve noticed that sometimes it’s easier for me to score this way because the goalkeeper has already come out at you and if you try a chip, maybe a recovering defender can reach the ball before it crosses the line,” Ozil explained to GOAL when asked why he chooses to finish that way at times.
“So with this technique you kind of eliminate that because you hit the ball harder, it then travels faster and it’s harder to stop.”
- Getty Images
#3 The Leicester City masterclass
You will have to go a long way to find a better individual performance from a playmaker than the one Ozil produced against Leicester City on October 22, 2018.
The German was exceptional as he helped Unai Emery’s Arsenal side fight back from a goal behind to see off the Foxes 3-1 at Emirates Stadium.
Ozil scored the equaliser just before half-time with a superb finish and then tore the visitors to shreds after the interval with his vision and technique.
His assist and all-round movement in the move that saw Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang make it 3-1 lit up the Emirates and capped a masterful performance.
#2 The 2017 FA Cup final
Ozil always had to deal with critics who said he didn’t turn up in big games for Arsenal. It was a criticism that never went away, but it was one that simply didn’t stack up.
Ozil starred in plenty of big games, and perhaps none bigger than the 2017 FA Cup final when Arsenal deservedly beat Chelsea 2-1, who had just been crowned Premier League champions.
Ozil was sensational that day at Wembley and was so unlucky not to round off his performance in style when he hit the post in the closing stages.
- Getty Images
#1 The Ludogorets wonder goal
If ever a goal encapsulated Mesut Ozil, it’s this one.
Sent clean through with the score locked at 2-2 in the final minute of a tricky Champions League game, most players would have just raced towards the keeper and got a shot away.
But not Ozil. He instead lifted the ball over the top of the keeper, brought it back under control, feinted to shoot to deceive a backtracking defender, then did it again to leave a further two Ludogorets players lying on the turf, before eventually stroking the ball into an empty net.
Genius 🧠— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) March 22, 2023
What's your favourite Özil moment? @M10 || #UCL pic.twitter.com/buXPNgryGu
It was a goal so sublime, it took the breath away. Full of vision, technique and artistry. It was Mesut Ozil at his very best.