Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil slammed by German newspaper BILD as 'biggest loser of 2018'
PUBLISHED: 17:27 20 December 2018 | UPDATED: 17:28 20 December 2018
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German newspaper BILD have slammed Mesut Ozil by calling him ‘the biggest loser of 2018’.
The midfielder has faced a rough few weeks at Arsenal, firstly by picking up a back injury, followed by being left out of the team by boss Unai Emery.
The leading German newspaper took a brutal approach in calling Ozil the biggest loser of the year for his political stance and form on the pitch.
Ozil and Manchester City’s Ilkay Gündoğan were criticised by politicians including the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, for meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during his visit to the UK in the spring.
In a meeting at London’s Four Seasons hotel weeks before the World Cup the players handed signed club shirts to the leader of Turkey’s Justice and Development party. The shirt given by Gündoğan, who holds German and Turkish passports, read: “To my president, with my respects.”
The row centred on Ozil’s decision to pose alongside Erdogan and give him a signed Arsenal shirt during the Turkish president’s election campaign visit to London’s Turkish community in May.
The controversial pictures caused public outrage in Germany at a time when German citizens were held on political charges as part of Mr Erdogan’s crackdown on free speech in Turkey.
“Looking back on the year, forgetting about the Erdogan theme for a moment and focusing on the sport,” thundered BILD, “[Ozil is] still the loser of 2018.”
They continued to slate the midfielder for his form at Arsenal in the previous two seasons, as well as making headlines for his antics away from the pitch.
“He doesn’t make the Champions League for two years in a row with his team, he failed at the World Cup, loses his place at Arsenal and now in the winter is in the headlines for consuming Nitrous Oxide at a party and is suffering from back problems because he spends too much time on Fortnite.”
The paper – who are notorious for having a poor relationship with the five-time German player of the year – didn’t stop there when it came to criticising Ozil.
“His crash is so brutal that it’s hard to believe. Ozil needs fans, teammates and coaches who stand behind him but with his actions he has lost it in Germany and with everyone.
“He needs to start again, and it is hoped that he becomes aware of this as soon as possible.”
Özil, whose grandparents immigrated to Germany from Turkey, announced his retirement from international football after the World Cup in Russia after failing to qualify from a group containing Sweden, Mexico and South Korea before tweeting: “If we win, I’m German. If we lose, I’m an immigrant”.
In a separate article BILD accused the Gelsenkirchen-born midfielder of being spoiled by former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, which has changed with the introduction of taskmaster Emery, who it is said is understood to be looking to offload the mercurial playmaker in the January transfer window.
Follow Arsenal writer and German football expert Rosie Tudball on Twitter @rosietudba11