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‘Ozi’ at XLSemanal

January 2, 2011

For Mesut Özil fans – and there must be many, as he’s had a great start to the season – I can’t imagine a better way to start this year off than with a great interview with your boy, as he’s on the cover of XLSemanal this week!  In the interview inside, ‘Ozi’ talks about happiness, integration and his love for shoes (we have something in common)!

The cover’s not bad either… we get a glimpse of abs, and I see more definition!  Mesut really likes black shoes with white soles, no?

Q:  How are you doing in Spain?

A:  I’m very happy.  I’ve adapted quickly, and I’ve had the support of my family that was here with me during the first few weeks.  The team and Mourinho helped me with the acclimation.

Q:  What was it like going into the locker room for the first time?  Were you received with arrogance by any of the superstars such as Cristiano Ronaldo?  [¡Vaya pregunta!]

A:  None of that.  Everyone greeted me with affection, everyone was very nice.  And they continue to be nice.

Q:  It’s always been said that joining a group of stars like this one is like jumping into a pool full of sharks…

A:  It’s the opposite.  It’s very family-oriented.  We take the training sessions seriously, but we have a great time together off the field.

Q:  For example?

A:  I laughed when someone from the team used a computer to give each player a crazy hairstyle and then put the photos up on each locker.

But… why did they need a computer for that for Özil?

Q:  You’re 21 years old and you’ve signed for six years with a contract that guarantees that you won’t have to ever worry about money again.  Does it frighten you that you’ve already accomplished all your dreams?

A:  I’m in the grandest club in the world, at the orders of the best coach in the world… but so far I haven’t won a title with Real Madrid.  There’s still a long and difficult road ahead of me until I achieve all my dreams.

Q:  What is your long-term objective?

A:  To be one of the best players in the world.  That’s why I took the step of coming to Madrid, because I wanted to continue growing here, with Mourinho.  I’m very happy with my new coach, and not only because he’s won a lot of titles with various teams.

Q:  What made you decide to sign with Madrid?

A:  The most important factor was a conversation with Mourinho.  He told me that he wanted me on his team at any cost.  It lasted half an hour, or maybe 45 minutes, on the phone.  He convinced me and that’s why I’m here.  He told me he was counting on me.

Q:  What did he tell you exactly?

A:  I don’t want to enter into details.  The important thing is that he convinced me.  In addition, in the last few years he’s shown that many players grow with him.

Q:  You consider yourself timid and introverted, but it doesn’t appear that way when you step on the field.  Do you become another person when you play football?

A:  I think so.  I remember when I was a kid:  whenever I saw a ball, I only thought about kicking it, in having fun, in triumphing.  It’s the same now.

Q:  The sporting press has praised you very enthusiastically.  How does this affect you?

A:  I feel proud, but I was educated to always keep my feet on the ground in whatever situation in my life.

Q:  Who is your biggest critic outside the club?

A:  My father Mustafa, who is my principal critic and adviser.  He’s always been sincere with me.  When I didn’t play well, he would tell me that I had to change this thing or that thing.  He continues to do that and I value him a lot.

Q:  Your jersey number, 23, had not brought a lot of luck to the last few players who wore it, such as Wesley Sneijder or Rafa van der Vaart.  Are you superstitious?

A:  I’m not worried about the number.  The “23” was free and so I got it, that’s all.

Q:  In your first days in Madrid, the press talked about some statements Mourinho made about you and Sami Khedira and how you didn’t speak Spanish or English well.  How did you fix that?

A:  I’m taking Spanish classes, and it’s going well.  A lot of the players speak English and translate for me.  Of course, for me it’s an advantage that Sami Khedira also signed for Madrid, because he’s a teammate that I can talk to and he helps me a lot.

Q:  Where are you learning Spanish?

A:  A professor  comes to my house two or three times a week.  She gives me work and I do it.  I’m very diligent.  I want to speak the language as soon as possible.

Q:  What do your new teammates call you?  In Bremen, they nicknamed you Messi…

A:  That’s what they called me in Bremen and on the national team.  Here, in Madrid, they call me Ozi, without the umlaut on top of the “O.”

Q:  You’re known for leading a normal life, without luxuries or eccentricities.  Now you’re part of the “galactic” club… how do you resist all the temptations?

A:  I’m not interested in them.  What I want is to continue growing as a footballer, to triumph on the field.  The world of VIPs doesn’t interest me.  I prefer to stay at home, with my family and my friends.

Q:  Do you swear that’s the truth?

A:  When I want to have a good time, I have a good time, and I can do that perfectly with my friends and family.

Q:  You’ve said your biggest idol is Zidane… is it because he also had no interest in pursuing fame?

A:  Zidane has always fascinated me.  His way of playing, his ambidexterity, his unpredictability, the danger he was in front of the goal… for me, he was the perfect player.

Q:  In your country, you’ve been described as the new “German hero,” an example of integration, the model German with Turkish roots.  Does that bother you?

A:  In no way.  I took on the German nationality because that’s what I wanted.  I decided to play for the German national team because as a kid I already wanted to play for Germany, because I belong to a third generation in Germany, because I feel good there, because I have a lot of friends there.  That’s the message I want to transmit to young people, and if I can, to be an example to follow.

Q:  It’s been said that you received a lot of pressure to choose the Turkish national team…

A:  It didn’t influence me; it was my own decision.  My friends knew it and supported me.  For me, there was no other country to consider.

Q:  Do you see yourself as the captain of the German national team?

A:  What I want above everything else is to play well, in Madrid and on my national team.  I give it my all so that the coach will continue to count on me for the next game.

Q:  You met Angela Merkel during the World Cup, when she visited the locker room after the 4-0 against Argentina.  How was that meeting?

A:  Very positive.  The chancellor was very nice, very educated, very natural.

Q:  What do you think of her?

A:  I admire her a lot.  I value what she’s achieved, what she’s done for Germany.  I value it a lot.  In South Africa, she was very friendly, very nice with all of us.

Q:  Did you vote in the most recent elections?

A:  Yes, but I won’t talk more about that.

Q:  In your country, there’s always some talk about how Germany has messed up in the politics of integration over the last few decades.  Does that bother you?

A:  Of course.  I want with all my heart a day when everyone in Germany feels like a one big family.  We all live together, a lot of Turks also have German passports, and want to integrate.  That’s why I regret that this discussion is held over and over again.

Q:  How can the situation be changed?

A:  The fundamental thing is to get to know each other better, Germans and Turks.  It’s important that people exchange ideas, points of view and opinions.  In that way, integration will function better.

Q:  Let’s return to your roots.  You learned to play football on a field enclosed by a wire fence which everyone in Gelsenkirchen called “the monkey cage.”  Were you the king there?

A:  My older brother Mutlu was very good; he was also very talented.

Q:  But your brother plays in a regional league today.  Is there any envy between the brothers?

A:  No.  Mutlu has always supported me, he’s very proud of me.

Q:  Do you keep in touch with your old friends from Gelsenkirchen?

A:  Of course.  I was just on vacation with them and one of these days they’ll come to visit me in Madrid.

Q:  A while ago, you were seen taking economy class on your vacations…

A:  Yes, I go to Mallorca on Air Berlin.  And in Germany, on domestic flights, I don’t mind sitting all the way in the back.

Q:  What is the biggest luxury you’ve allowed yourself lately?

A:  The most expensive was setting up my house in Madrid.

Q:  Where do you save money?

A:  I save a lot, but I also want to enjoy life.  I pay attention to prices.  For example, I like to shop in Zara, but I also buy clothing from Dolce&Gabbana, Dsquared and True Religion.

Q:  Does fashion interest you?

A:  I have my own style, I buy my own clothes.  I love shoes.  In my house, I have a special room for them.

Q:  You also love the cinema.

A:  Yes, I like movies, especially action movies and mafia movies.

Q:  What types of books do you read?

A:  Adventure novels.

Q:  In your free time, you like to play ping-pong… could you have done that professionally?

A:  I think so.  I’ve always been good at it.

Q:  To end, have your teammates teased you about Spain beating Germany in the World Cup and the Eurocopa?

A:  Of course, Iker has already taunted me.  He told me, smiling, “Better luck next time.”

36 Comments leave one →
  1. lulu permalink
    January 2, 2011 16:09

    I just love him!!!!!
    And the front cover is just hot!!!

  2. Kristine permalink
    January 2, 2011 16:17

    He’s adorable! Looking good on that cover! I know he’s going to have a bright future with Madrid.

    Thanks Una, and Happy New Year!

  3. sweetubi permalink
    January 2, 2011 16:26

    omg ikerrr he told him that jajaja 😀 remember that mesut, better luck next time!

  4. HermosaChica permalink
    January 2, 2011 16:26

    Ohh Ozi..where did that cover come from?! 😀

    “someone from the team used a computer to give each player a crazy hairstyle and then put the photos up on each locker” — hmm..Marcelo? Pepe? Alvaro? I’m really curious!

    And whoa! Ozil’s (thankfully) long gone hairstyles.. I had no idea! Ignorance really is bliss..

    • mumblo permalink
      January 2, 2011 16:51

      My money’s on Alvaro.

    • Canederli permalink
      January 3, 2011 02:26

      The cover shot for XLSemenal was an interior shot from a spread in the German magazine Focus that came out in October. His face is really airbrushed in the pictures sadly (I think he’s adorable as is). The cover of Focus and a few other shots showed up other places and whoever styled the shoot should be shot (aside from the picture here). You can see two of the most egregious fashion mistakes here:

      • Deb permalink
        January 3, 2011 10:49

        Whhaaattt? The same stylist did all these pictures?! The first thing I thought when I saw this pic was that it was WAY better than the ones I saw on Kickette. Those were horrid…poor kid.

        I would love to see some of the pictures of the other team members. I bet they’re quite comical.

        “I love shoes. In my house, I have a special room for them.” 😮

        A whole room for shoes?! How big is his house?!

        Seems like a good, down-to-earth kid.

        • IsaBella permalink
          January 3, 2011 11:42

          I suppose it’s quiet big, like three bedrooms 🙂 just as all of their houses 😀

  5. January 2, 2011 16:27

    Looking v.good on the cover!

    I love his answers. Very eloquent and intelligent!

  6. January 2, 2011 17:58

    Oh no! The Mesut Mullet rears its ugly head. Those pictures are always traumatizing to see. 🙂 He’s my fave player so it’s always nice to read a great interview with him. It’s nice to see that he remains so humble and grounded.

    I would LOVE to know who the computer whiz was who did the hairstyle shots of the players. That sounds adorable.

  7. January 2, 2011 18:42

    Iker told the press that Germany NT is the the only team he has respect for and they were his favorites in the WC.
    And now he shows his admiration further by teasing their little Ozi. Naughty Iker! 😉

    Keep being humble kiddo.

  8. emily permalink
    January 2, 2011 19:55

    Better luck next time! Silly Iker!

  9. amouria permalink
    January 2, 2011 20:50

    ozi is educated for his age, clever in his answers. i liked his response re integration. he belongs to so-called 3rd generation, but still people think about his integration, oh god, how painful…

  10. Stella permalink
    January 2, 2011 21:45

    Thank so mutch for posting about Özil! He is my nr 1 fav player all the way from Bremen, to the national team and Madrid and ofc all the way in to my heart. Love him!

    Did not know about that his teammates in Bremen called him Messi. But his Madrid teammates nickname Ozi was way mutch better than Messi. Sweet little Ozi!

    Thank for a lovely blog abot RM!

  11. Maisoun permalink
    January 2, 2011 22:15

    Q: What types of books do you read?

    A: Adventure novels.

    …..hahaha this made me imagine Ozi dressed up as Peter Pan! 😛

  12. IsaBella permalink
    January 2, 2011 22:26

    I simply adore him. I voted for him as the best RM player of this season’s beggining. He seems a very natural and kind person. I wish him all the best in RM with all my heart, and I hope that the @#$%$# Kaka will not steal his place. I love to see him play and I always cheer up for him. He’s one of my super favorites of RM.
    The cover of XLSemanal is too artificial for me, too much photoshop, I prefer the training pics 🙂

    • Deb permalink
      January 4, 2011 22:22

      After watching how they used KaKa yesterday, I see him more replacing Benzema than Ozil. It seems like Mou is working on increasing KaKa’s playing time a bit at a time. As well as Ozil has played, I simply can’t imagine Mou sitting him on the bench so Kaka can play a full match. Benzema on the other hand…. Fingers crossed that I’m right.

      • IsaBella permalink
        January 5, 2011 09:44

        In my opinion (and I’m far from being a soccer expert), there is simply no place for Kaka in this team anymore. That is why it would be much better for him to go somewhere else like Inter or ManU where he can fully show off his quality. “Ricky” as Una calls him will only walk around Ozil and Benzema on the pitch, not knowning what to do. I do hope that the upper management will not force Mou to keep Kaka at all costs just to have another star name and sell shirts. Mou knows what he’s doing and if he does not see a place for “Ricky” then he must be right. Kaka is Brazilian magic and Mou is a strategic analyst. These two just don’t go along.

        • Deb permalink
          January 5, 2011 10:57

          Yes, it will be interesting to see how it all works out. I have to wonder if Cris will have any say. Not sure how the politics work tho.

          About your other comment…3 bedrooms? Is that big in Madrid? Not trying to be snooty but 3 bedrooms is normal for the middle class here. For example, Micheal Jordan’s house in Highland Park, Illinois has about 29,000 sq ft and 6 bedrooms. I hear he’s building a new home in Florida that will be even bigger with 11 bedrooms. It’s just ridiculous the size of the homes fo the “rich and famous” here. 😮

      • IsaBella permalink
        January 5, 2011 11:23

        I think that the decison must be made first by Mou and then by the management, maybe Cris can give a piece of advice but I doubt that.

        As far as the houses are concerned: I saw soccer players’ houses in Italy when I lived there and they were big but not like the Hollywood palaces. I have seen a video abt Cris’ house in Madrid and it is big with a swimming pool, it’s very modern and all that stuff but I don’t think it’s that huge. Of course, it is not in Madrid but in the suburbs, I doubt however that Mesut would have a mansion: it is not like he has a 20 people family to live there with him, I guess they only visit from time to time. Most of the houses are rented to them, they do not usually buy as they tend to change clubs, except from the long-term loyal players, such as e.g. Iker.

        • Deb permalink
          January 5, 2011 13:38

          ah…okay…thanks for the clarification. Makes sense about Ozil.

      • IsaBella permalink
        January 5, 2011 15:37

        no problem 🙂

  13. Lauren permalink
    January 3, 2011 00:00

    I’m from Germany and I’m super proud of him! He’s one of my favourite Madrid players – not only because he’s German. 🙂
    He seems very down-to-earth. I really liked this interview. Thanks, unamadridista!

    • IsaBella permalink
      January 3, 2011 11:40

      @Lauren I have a few German friends who are also very proud of him and they’re always asking me: “how was Ozil doing in the last game?” 😀 I guess he’s become a national star these days 🙂

  14. Yumi permalink
    January 3, 2011 01:00

    This photo cover it’s from a interview/photoshoot that he gave on the german magazine called Focus.

  15. Sunny permalink
    January 3, 2011 01:02

    He’s presh. I love his answers, and I love Iker taking the mickey.

  16. January 3, 2011 03:03

    HAHA Iker… oh dear. “Ozi”… what a sweet nickname! He’s really adorable, isn’t he? Reading adventure novels. I can’t believe how young he is. He’s basically my age (I’m about to turn 21…). Ozil is definitely one of my favorite players of the season so far. I’m very happy Mou convinced him to come.

  17. January 3, 2011 07:07

    Happy new year Una!

    words can’t describe how adorable he is.

  18. Marshmallow permalink
    January 3, 2011 10:58

    Ozi? haha cute 😛
    oh Iker, you are such a bully 😛 😛

  19. January 3, 2011 19:39

    What is “ping-ping”?
    Maybe you mean “ping-pong”?

    Thank you for the translation! ♥

  20. ebrahim permalink
    January 4, 2011 00:29

    thank you una

  21. Jenny permalink
    January 5, 2011 17:43

    Oh lord – what a sweetheart!

  22. Ariadni permalink
    January 13, 2011 15:01

    What an amazing human being..!
    The thing i love about him the most is that he plays football with his heart, body AND mind. Something that’s not very common in football nowdays… 🙂

  23. fdwa permalink
    June 27, 2011 02:19

    I love him so much ..and every time i read any thing about him .. I respect him much more …great manners and great guy

  24. Rin permalink
    July 13, 2014 03:45

    So he did have better luck after all….thank you iker!


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