Former Arsenal and Real Madrid star Mesut Ozil has announced his retirement from professional football, aged 34.
The former Germany international had been playing for Turkish top-flight side Istanbul Basaksehir since joining in the summer but has only made eight appearances for the club following injury problems.
Back issues have largely caused the playmaker to feature in only 187 minutes of football this term having moved from Fenerbahce following 18 months at the club.
Ozil revealed the news on Instagram in a statement reading:
‘Hello everyone, After thoughtful consideration, l’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.’
Ozil left the Gunners in January 2021 having been frozen out by current boss Mikel Arteta, but in a statement, he showed no ill feeling towards his former club where he won four FA Cups after signing for £42.5million from Real Madrid to much fanfare in 2013.
‘It has been an amazing journey filled with unforgettable moments and emotions,’ he added.
‘I want to thank my clubs – Schalke, Werder Bremen, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Fenerbahce, 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 vou will hear from me from time to time on my social media channels.
‘See you soon, Mesut!’
The former Geman international came through the youth team of his local club Schalke before moving to Werder Bremen where he won the DFB Pokal Cup and helped the team reach the final of the 2009 UEFA Cup.
He later made a move to Real Madrid, where Ozil won the league in 2012 as well as the Copa del Rey twice.
However, he fell out of favour, and in 2013 he moved to Arsenal, where he spent the next eight years.
Ozil left the Gunners in January 2021 having been frozen out by current boss Mikel Arteta. He spent the last few years in Turkey, first with Fenerbahce and then Istanbul Basaksehir. Ozil was part of the Germany team that won the 2014 World Cup.