Mesut Özil announces his retirement: what was his record at Real Madrid?
The World Cup-winning midfielder announced his retirement on social media - here’s a look back at his time in Spain.
“After thoughtful consideration”, wrote Mesut Özil on his social media statement, “I’m announcing my immediate retirement from professional football.” The World Cup winner announced on Wednesday 23 March that he would be hanging up his boots for the final time and “leave the big stage of football”.
Özil played from Real Madrid from 2010 to 2013, where he made over 100 appearances for the club, scoring 27 goals. However, people will look back and think not of his capabilities as a marksman, but instead of his elegant touch, his technique, elegance... and the bucket loads of assists. Özil would not run a game from start to finish: he wasn’t there and then he was, calmly coming out from under the bed like Thing from the Addams Family to help in in just right moment, placing the ball kindly where you wanted it. All for you to score the goal.
Oodles of Özil assists
According to Opta data, across ten seasons, from 2008-2018, Özil registered 112 assists in European leagues, second only to Lionel Messi. According to Sofascore, he got 81 of those in a Madrid shirt, with Karim Benzema, Gonzalo Higuaín and Cristiano Ronaldo feeding off the luscious passes played by the German.
His most productive season in Spain as provider came in the 2011/12 campaign, where he managed 19 assists in LaLiga from 35 games, with his longest unproductive streak being just 5 games (on one single occasion) in October, where he failed to play the full 90 minutes in any of them: Madrid scored 22 goals in those games anyway and went on to win the LaLiga title with Özil as a key member of the team.
More goals, more assists and more being brilliant
The season before he also got 19 assists, and went a maximum of just 4 consecutive games (also on only one occasion) without getting either a goal himself or setting one up for a teammate. In 2013, he was averaging above 20 assists in all competitions for the club, even prompting a news piece on the official website.
This period at the club coincided with Jose Mourinho’s reign, which was a tumultuous time for many in white, but Özil thrived, taking full advantage of the counter-attacking style of Madrid and exploiting the huge spaces left behind for the lightning-fast attackers to burst into.
Taking the number 10 and making it good
He wore the mythical (yet perhaps slightly cursed in recent times) ‘10′ shirt after first choosing 23 and was arguably Madrid’s last great wearer of the number before Luka Modric took ownership: that’s about as a high as praise gets when it comes to football. Being overtaken by Modric is definitely not a bad thing, and it says plenty that Özil can stand on his own, at least for a while, next to the Croatian.