German footballer Mesut Özil is no stranger to lending a helping hand. The talented midfielder has built an enviable reputation for his ability to provide teammates with deftly weighted through balls and pinpoint crosses. Yet the generosity of Özil as a footballer is only the tip of the iceberg. His charitable donations and life-saving interventions have done what few defenders could ever dream of: overshadow his world-class soccer talent.
Özil is undoubtedly one of the most technically gifted players in the world of soccer. On top of that, few players today possess more creativity, vision, and soccer IQ. His sublime passes, silky smooth control of the ball, and effortless Skill are what make him my Athlete CRUSH. This past year, Özil showed his footballing prowess by notching 20 assists and 8 goals for club team Arsenal of the English Premier League (EPL), on his way to earning the Arsenal Player of the Season award. His 19 assists, in EPL games only, fell just 1 short of the all-time league record.
On the international stage, the 27-year-old has represented the German senior national team since 2009 and has logged 19 goals in 77 appearances. Leading up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Özil led Germany’s qualification run with 8 goals. During the tournament itself, he started all 7 of Germany’s matches and proved a big reason why they would eventually win the World Cup. His ability to improvise on the ball and facilitate goal scoring opportunities out of thin air mesmerized audiences all over the globe. His gift to the world that summer, however, was only just beginning.
Özil is also my Athlete CRUSH for his Role Model status in the soccer community. A humble person from modest beginnings, Özil places emphasis on helping those who are less fortunate. His focus on children and instilling in them positive thoughts and beliefs has directly assisted many from Europe all the way to South America. At Arsenal home matches, he has frequently invited disadvantaged youth into his private box to enjoy games. And in Brazil, immediately before the 2014 World Cup, Özil pledged to fund surgical operations for 11 sick Brazilian children.
Following Germany’s World Cup triumph, Özil further donated his tournament bonus to help cover a net total of 23 children’s operations, as this was his way of thanking Brazil for its hospitality. Over $400,000 in medical bills was given as a result to provide these kids a chance at a healthy and prosperous life. Subsequently, Özil was given the Laureus Sport for Good award for his admirable act of generosity.
My hope is that Özil’s charitable work will help to set a precedent for athlete philanthropy. The social responsibility that Özil embodies is an inspiration to witness and a genuine quality, of which the world could use more. As he continues his already illustrious career, here’s to even more championship victories and lives made better all around the world.
Written by Athlete CRUSH Staff
Posted 29 June 2016