STORY: Mesut Özil, the former German national soccer player, announced the end of his career on Wednesday. The 34-year-old professional footballer published a farewell message on social networks on Wednesday. Among other things, he wrote: “After careful consideration, I declare my immediate retirement from professional football. In the past few weeks and months, and also suffering from a number of injuries, it has become clearer and clearer that it is time to leave the big football stage.” His contract with the Turkish first division club BASCHAK-SCHECH-HIR (Basaksehir FK) is valid until the summer of 2023. Özil has played for Schalke 04, Werder Bremen, Real Madrid and Arsenal, as well as Fenerbahce – and has long been considered one of the best footballers in the world, with an excellent left foot. Özil became world champion with Germany in Brazil in 2014. Overall, he played 92 international matches, mostly as a central game designer. However, he did not mention the national team or the German Football Association in his farewell message. When he resigned from the national team after the preliminary round at the 2018 World Cup, he had massively criticized the DFB leadership. Before the final round, Özil had been the focus of heated discussions because of his photos with the Turkish head of state Recep Tayyip Erdogan. National coach Hansi Flick now praised Özil in the highest tones after the end of his career: “Mesut Özil was one of our outstanding national players,” said Flick on the DFB website.