Mesut Ozil, one of the game’s great contemporary playmakers, has officially announced his retirement.
The German developed an irrefutable reputation during his spell at Real Madrid before he dipped his toe in the Premier League pond when he joined Arsenal to much fanfare in 2013.
Ozil was a vintage creator who combined grace, elegance, and ingenuity. His languid profile meant he frustrated just as much as he inspired, but his moments of sheer brilliance often made up for his apparent lethargy.
His time at the top eventually run its course as the number ten as a concept died a slow death with greater emphasis being placed on pressing and systemisation over freedom and individualism. Ozil succumbed to modern trends, but his Premier League legacy was already secure well before his departure in 2021.
Ozil notched 54 Premier League assists in 184 appearances for Arsenal over seven seasons. The German’s career in England began with three double-digit assist seasons in his first four campaigns before he notched just four in his final 42 league appearances for the Gunners.
Ozil currently ranks joint-36th all-time for Premier League assists. He’s notched the same amount as current star Mo Salah, as well as former contemporaries Juan Mata and Eden Hazard. Jordan Henderson, who currently has 53, could soon usurp the German playmaker.
Compared to other great Premier League creators of his generation, Ozil registered fewer assists than David Silva (93) and Christian Eriksen (73), while Kevin De Bruyne (98) is chasing the likes of Frank Lampard (102), Wayne Rooney (103), and Cesc Fabregas (111) in the all-time standings. Ryan Giggs’ record of 162 is still well out of the Belgian’s reach.
Going back to Ozil, only Dennis Bergkamp (94), Thierry Henry (74), and Fabregas (71) registered more assists for Arsenal in the Premier League than the German.
Ozil’s creative genius most frequently manifested at Arsenal during his third season at the club in 2015/16. With many of their competitors faltering, the Gunners firmly established themselves as title challengers over the autumn and winter with Ozil leading the way.
The former Germany international, who was ubiquitously deployed as a…