Mesut Ozil: Former Arsenal, Real Madrid, Germany midfielder announces retirement aged 34
Writing on Instagram, Ozil said that it was becoming "more and more clear that it's time to leave the big stage of football", with injuries playing a part in his decision.
Ozil's final game came on February 2, when he was substituted at half-time during Istanbul Basaksehir's 1-0 defeat at Kayserispor in the Turkish Super Lig. It was one of just two starts he made for the club after signing from Fenerbahce last summer.
Ozil's statement read: "After thoughtful consideration, I’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.
"It has been an amazing journey filled with unforgettable moments and emotions. I want to thank my clubs - Schalke, Werder Bremen, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Fenerbahce and 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 you will hear from me from time to time on my social media channels."
As well as struggling for game time with Basaksehir, Ozil was also hampered by fitness problems during his 18-month spell at Fenerbahce before he joined their Turkish rivals at the start of the season.
Ozil played 37 times for Fenerbahce, scoring nine goals, but his time at the club came to a sour end when he was suspended for the final months of the 2021/22 season before having his contract terminated last summer.
It was a familiar story for Ozil, whose final months at Arsenal followed a similar pattern. After missing the end of 2019/20 season with injury, he was left out of the squad by Mikel Arteta for the first half of the following campaign before having his contract cancelled.
It was an unsatisfactory conclusion to Ozil’s time with the Gunners, which spanned more than seven years and saw him make 254 appearances, while he collected four FA Cup winners’ medals.
Ozil was brought to north London by Arsene Wenger in September 2013 after three years at Real Madrid, where he won LaLiga and the Copa del Rey. He previously played for Werder Bremen and Schalke in his native Germany.
Ozil also enjoyed a successful international career, earning 92 caps for Germany and starting in the 1-0 win over Argentina as they lifted the 2014 World Cup.