There exists only a handful of players in the world of football who choose an unorthodox lifestyle or career after retiring from the beautiful game. As of this moment, the 33-year-old German midfielder, Mesut Ozil’s name has come up after a bizarre comment from his manager Dr Erkut Sogut suggested that Ozil’s imminent departure from football to a world of Esports can come true any day.
Ozil has enjoyed a glittering career. From 2010 to 2013, under the tutelage of Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid, Mesut Ozil became the ‘Assist King,’ with Cristiano Ronaldo appreciating and acknowledging Ozil’s role in making the Portuguese a lethal goal scorer for the Los Blancos.
The German operated at the peak of his powers, shadowing everyone because of his excellent vision to find spaces behind the opposition’s defence and tearing apart teams playing a high press against Real Madrid. For three seasons in Madrid, no one came close to the assists tally of Ozil. There were even shout-outs to keep Ozil at the same level of playmaking abilities as Lionel Messi.
His successful tenure at Real Madrid was followed by a World Cup win with Germany in 2014 and a promising start with Arsenal in the Premier League, where he won the FA Cup titles in 2014 and 2015 consecutively.
But a shift in Ozil’s vision came not on but off the field which began to creep into his performances on the football pitch. During his time in London, the German began to indulge himself with video games with every chance that he could get. The situation became so grim that the club officials began to accuse Ozil of losing interest in football altogether.
Giving in to this addiction, Ozil founded an Esports team named, ‘M10 Esports,’ in 2018.
“He owns a team – M10 Esports – and he has players. He has a gaming house in Germany. He has football, like Fifa, and Fortnite.” His agent, Dr Sogut, clearly explained his appreciating interest in the simplest terms to the fans and media alike.
After eight years at Arsenal, Ozil was relieved and went to the Turkish club, Fenerbahce in 2021, where after 36 appearances so far, the German has managed to score eight goals. But a recent fallout with the Turkish club has left Ozil on the sidelines once again with the German in no guarantee of getting playing time at the club.
Witnessing his end inching near, Ozil has engrossed himself in the venture that he started at Arsenal — Esports, and his manager Dr Sogurt has made his intentions clear about the player.
“He will go more into Esports, play himself and maybe become an Esports athlete. He’s really good, to be honest, at Fortnite and I think one day I wouldn’t be surprised if he is competing.
But this is where the anger seeps in. The football fans who kept Ozil on the pedestal are now livid at him for wasting his talent and pushing his career to a dead-end of Esports.
Many believe that if he takes up Esports as his next profession, soon he will be forgotten and will be remembered as a middle-aged man who plays Fortnite with teens rather than a football legend he could have become. For many, this is a confusing career graph with no redemption.
This sheer decline of Ozil is scary. For a player of this calibre to fade away so quickly, has everyone surprised but to each of his own, the German believes that he can right this fall from grace with a new career path in Esports, a new beginning that might set things straight for him.