From welcoming disabled fans to the Emirates and his home to sending kit to supporters in Kenya, Mesut Ozil’s charitable side MUST be remembered… despite £350,000-a-week star rejecting a 12.5% wage cut, unlike most of his Arsenal team-mates
- Mesut Ozil is one of three Arsenal players who did not agree to a wage cut
- The £350,000-a-week star turned down giving up 12.5 per cent of wages
- He still might, but is waiting to see the full impact of coronavirus on football
- Outside of football, Ozil gives a lot of his time and money to charity work
- Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID
A footballer earning £350,000-a-week refuses a 12.5 per cent pay cut agreed by nearly all of his team-mates during a global pandemic. Surely it’s as simple as that? Except, in the case of Mesut Ozil, it isn’t quite that straightforward.
Mikel Arteta has rallied all but three of the Arsenal playing squad into accepting cuts to help the club with cashflow issue while the coronavirus pandemic keeps football halted indefinitely.
Ozil, Arsenal’s highest earner, is the one known name who has refused to lower his wage, as it stands, while he surveys the true impact of the virus upon the game.
Mesut Ozil is one of three Arsenal players to have rejected a 12.5 per cent wage cut at the club
Ozil’s current long-term contract at Arsenal is worth an astronomical £350,000-a-week
Speaking on Sky Sports, Jamie Carragher said that Ozil’s rejection was ‘a massive PR own goal’
‘The fact the highest-paid player hasn’t done it (agreed to a pay cut)… the rest of the squad has agreed it, you’ve got to go with the rest of the players,’ Jamie Carragher said on Sky on Tuesday. ‘As you say, it’s a massive PR own goal.
‘I’m not going to have a go at him for the wages he’s earned, blame the people who are paying him, but the highest-paid member of the squad should be one who sets the example.’
But with Ozil, there is another side that needs to be considered. Yes, he is paid an astronomical amount of money but he uses a large swathe of it for good, both at home and across the world.
Only nine weeks ago, when the world was a very different place, Ozil welcomed some disabled supporters to the Emirates stadium to watch Arsenal’s 3-2 win against Everton, posing for pictures with them after the game.
He also works with the children’s charity Ray of Sunshine, through which he once welcomed an ardent eight-year-old Gunners fan with cerebral palsy and a lung condition into his home.
Nine weeks ago, Ozil welcomed fans to the Emirates for Arsenal’s 3-2 win over Everton
Ozil surprised a seriously ill eight-year-old boy by inviting him to his home to meet him
Abroad, a simple but endearing gesture saw Ozil send a football shirt to a young boy called Lawrence in Nairobi, Kenya after he was alerted to the fact he had made his own version of an Arsenal top with Ozil’s name on the back.
The former Germany international also set an array of kit, including football boots, to him and his friends, as well.
‘The picture of a Kenyan boy with a self-made shirt on Twitter touched me so much,’ Ozil wrote on Instagram after seeing that Lawrence had received the shirt. ‘And look at Lawrence now – it’s so heartwarming to see him and his brothers happy.’
His gestures have not stopped there. Ozil’s agent, Dr Erkut Sogut said last year that the Arsenal playmaker had also paid for 1,000 vital operations for children across the world, fed 100,000 homeless people at 16 refugee camps in Turkey and Syria and paid £240,000 to fund operations for sick children in Brazil.
It is, therefore, not a huge leap of faith to think that, in a time where the world faces the most unique of challenges, Ozil may be using his money for the greater good.
Ozil sent a fan of his in Kenya a shirt with his name on the back – and also kitted his friends out
As well as receiving shirts, the football mad fans received proper football boots from Ozil
????❤ #M1Ö #Kenya
A post shared by Mesut Özil (@m10_official) on
Yes, for Arsenal as a club, it looks far stronger in terms of team unity to say that the entire playing squad has agreed a pay cut.
And they still might. Ozil still might agree to one. The 31-year-old has received intense scrutiny for the standard of his displays in recent seasons at Arsenal and whether they align with what fans expect from their highest paid player.
That criticism has been fair. But here, with a delicate situation unfolding by the day, there is an argument for more factors to be thought about.
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