Mesut Özil — The world is waiting

By Steve Mitchell

Mesut Özi

As the annual end-of-year gongs are handed out there is no disputing that Lionel Messi deserves all of the accolades being thrown in his direction at the moment. But for next year, everyone should take a look in Germany at a rising young star, who is set to take the World Cup by storm next summer.

Mesut Özil is 21 years old, born in Gelsenkirchen to Turkish parents – he was discovered by local club DJK Westfalia 04 Gelsenkirchen when he was just eight years old, where he developed his exceptional talent until being taken by German giants and hometown Bundesliga club Schalke 04 at the age of 17.

After making 30 appearances for Die Knappen, he was controversially sold to Werder Bremen in 2008 after a disagreement with the club’s owners over a contract extension. Die Grün-Weißen picked him up for a miserly 4.3 million Euros which now seems like the best piece of transfer business done by any club in the last decade.

Özil’s stock is rising at a rapid rate, and this current campaign has seen the little midfield superstar take his game to a new level. In 13 matches this season, Özil has found the net on six occasions as coach Thomas Schaaf plays him in a more advance midfield role on the left were he can cause maximum damage, ghosting into positions behind defenders.

Week after week, his performances are the talk of Germany and having chosen his country of birth over his parents’ homeland, he now has the chance to shine on the biggest stage of all in South Africa next summer.

Currently, Özil has represented his country at Under 19 and Under 21 level, and now has nine full international caps to his name. It is only during this year that the youngster has become a regular fixture in the National side, but head coach Joachim Löw realizes the value he brings to his side and he will surely be one of the major figureheads at next summer’s jamboree in Africa.

Özil is the complete player, he has pace, an exceptional awareness of where his teammates are on the pitch, and the predatory instincts of a seasoned centre-forward. He is already well on his way to becoming the Bundesliga’s player of the season for this current campaign, and we haven’t even reached the half-way stage yet.

He is what football fans pay their money to see, as soon as he picks up the ball there is a sense of anticipation inside the stadium that something special is about to happen, just like a little Argentinean currently plying his trade in Catalunya, and Özil is a year younger than the recent Balon D’or winner.

Bremen know they have an absolute gem of a player on their hands and every time Özil racks up another man of the match award, his former employers in his hometown must want to bury their heads under the duvet and wonder how they let slip a player who in my opinion, will be one of the World’s greatest in the next couple of years.

A global stage is where exceptional players want to display their talents, so next summer get ready for the Mesut Özil show, the world is waiting.

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