Mesut Ozil on his car-jacking nightmare, falling out with Germany and what his future holds at Arsenal
Midfielder talks about the bravery of teammate Kolasinac during the attack in London and how he felt 'disrespected and unprotected' after the 2018 World Cup
Mesut Ozil has opened up about being at the centre of an attempted car-jacking, his explosive resignation from the Germany team and his determination to see out his contract at Arsenal.
The midfielder, his wife Amine and team-mate Sead Kolasinac were involved in a terrifying car-jacking on July 25, two weeks before the Premier League season started.
Footage on social media showed Bosnian defender Kolasinac chasing off two moped attackers, who were wearing helmets.
A man admitted in a London court earlier this month to trying to rob Ozil and Kolasinac and will be sentenced in November.
"Sead's reaction was really, really brave because he attacked one of the attackers," Ozil, 31, said in an interview with The Athletic. "The second one was in front of my car on his moped so I couldn't drive.
"We were newly wed and I was scared about my wife. I was scared about Sead. I wasn't thinking about myself. I was worried they were going to open my wife's door and they tried, so I reached across her to keep it closed."
Ozil, currently out of favour at Arsenal, said although nobody was harmed physically, the incident shook up his wife.
"My wife wanted to get away immediately," he said. "She didn't feel safe. Even if I let our dogs into the garden and went out with them she would say, 'Come in, come in, stay in the house.'"
But Ozil insists the incident did not make him want to leave London and he plans to stay until his Arsenal contract expires in 2021.
"When I signed the new deal [in 2018] I thought about it very carefully," he said. "I didn't want to stay for just one or two more years, I wanted to commit and the club wanted me to do the same.
"You can go through difficult times, like this, but that is no reason to run away and I'm not going to. I'm here until at least 2021."
The 2014 World Cup winner has played just two matches this season, fuelling speculation over his long-term future. He has not even been selected in Unai Emery's squad for the past three matches.
On Thursday, manager Emery praised an "improved" Ozil but refused to give any guarantees of a recall after a miserable start to the season for the German playmaker.
"With Mesut, this year started in a difficult way for him. In pre-season he worked well and was playing matches, but then he had the problems with Sead and it stopped," Emery, speaking ahead of Monday's Premier League game at Sheffield United said.
"The last two or three weeks, he's improved with us in training and I think he's feeling good.
"I didn't promise him that he'd play because I want to make sure he's ready and is available in training, and also giving us every day a good feeling in training, then he can play.
"My idea is to use every player and he is one in the squad. He has very big skills, the quality we will need in the next matches."
Ozil also opened up about his shock early retirement from international football following a disastrous 2018 World Cup campaign in which Germany failed to qualify from their group, claiming that he is seen as "a German when we win, but an immigrant when we lose".
He fell out of favour with German fans on the eve of those finals by posing for a picture with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
"I don't say people must love me, but just show respect about what I've done for Germany," said Ozil, who made 92 international appearances.
"My generation changed German football. It became more fun to watch. But after the [Erdogan] photo, I felt disrespected and unprotected.
"I was receiving racist abuse – even from politicians and public figures – yet nobody from the national team came out and said, 'Hey, stop. This is our player, you can't insult him like that'.
"Racism has always been there, but people used this situation as an excuse to let it out."
Updated: October 18, 2019 09:02 AM