I came across this interesting video showing the comparison between different players and the number of assists they’ve gotten throughout their careers at the same age. You could see some familiar names at the top which would come as no surprise. However there has always been one player that was just better at it than everyone else and for some time there was a clear difference. Mesut Ozil was on track to be the best assists we’ve ever seen. But what happened and what went wrong in his career?
When an 18 year old Mesut Ozil started his career in FC Schalke 04 he was a unique gem. In that season he managed 5 assists and 3 goals with 38 games. Looking at these stats it does not look very special. However his stats did not do any justice to his presence and play making in the midfield and his club described him as the next big star in football.
In 2008 Ozil decided to move to the Bundeslia side SV Werder Bremen. In the first season with the team he would go on to score 5 goals with 23 assists in 47 games with an assists ratio of 0.49. For the 20 year old Ozil his vision, ball control and passing really started to progress as he got consistent playing time and experience. In his second season with the team Ozil would improve dramatically getting twice as many goals and 31% more assists. Ozil would prove himself to be the key man in the Werder Bremen team. He was so impressive that the Bundesliga would name him as the best player in the first half of the season. With Ozil on their side Werder Bremen would go on from being last in the table to finishing 3rd in that season.
The world could no longer ignore Mesut Ozil and in 2010 he would get a call to play for the German national team. He would be part of the squad to play in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. He would go on to start every game in the World Cup which goes on to show how the young Ozil was valued as an attacking midfield position. Ozil would go on to score one goal and provide four assists for his country. After his impressive performance in the World Cup he was included in the 10 man list nomination for the golden ball.
After the 2010 World Cup Ozil would be the most sought after player in the World with all the top clubs looking to sign him including FC Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United. But out of all the clubs Real Madrid would be the one to get his signature and in 2010 he would move to the Santiago Bernabeu. Under Jose Mourinho Ozil would come off the bench to get some playing time and to cover Kaka who unfortunately suffered a series of injuries.
When Kaka was out of the team with injuries Ozil got the call to replace him and he would go on to do what he does best, help his team score goals. In just his first season with real Madrid Ozil would go on to score 5 goals with 29 assists in 53 games, that’s with an impressive 0.55 assist ratio. We all know Real Madrid is not an easy team to play for, there is so much expectation and only the best players get to play for the club. Ozil played alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuan who would form the famous Real Madrid attack.
During the 2011-2012 season Ozil would score seven goals and have 28 assists, another great assist ratio of 0.5 to 3 assists a game. He would finish on top of the la liga assists charts and even be shortlisted for the Ballon d’Or that year.
Real Madrid would win the La Liga title as well this season with Ozil running the offense was the first time a La Liga team finished with over 100 points. It also helped him get nominated for the UEFA best player
During the 2012-2013 season Ozil would once again lead the league in assists. Ending the season with 10 goals and 29 assists in 52 games. Throughout his entire time at Real Madrid, he was selling assists left and right and his number one customer was no other than Cristiano Ronaldo.
With those peering owl-like eyes he just seems to see everything. Ozil’s beautiful vision and passing plus Ronaldo skill and finishing just resulted in many beautiful goals scored. You honestly just love to see it unfortunately that relationship wouldn’t last. Ozil was getting unhappy with Real Madrid as they had just acquired Luka Modric and he felt like he was gonna be replaced throughout his time with Real Madrid. Ozil would not get the chance to win the Champions League which was the only piece of silverware he was missing with the club after leaving Madrid.
In 2013 Ozil would join Arsenal on a transfer fee of €47m. While at Arsenal we could definitely see a drop in his assist getting much less than usual with only seven goals and 14 assists in 42 appearances. But let’s cut him some slack. He did have some minor injuries as well as transitioning into a whole different league and teammates that definitely weren’t on the same caliber as the forwards he had withmadrid.
In 2014 özil would once again be called up for his German team for the World Cup in Brazil. Once again he would start and every match as the squad’s main playmaker, although he would only score one goal and have two assists. Ozil was definitely a key piece in Germany’s winning of the World Cup trophy. Ozil was the leader in passes completed, was second in chances created and second in overall possessions.
However at club level Ozel would continue to struggle in arsenal only having five goals in nine assists and 32 appearances in the 2014-2015 season which wouldn’t be ideal for the club’s most expensive player.
The 2015-2016 season was the last time Ozil reached 20 assists in a single season while also scoring eight goals which was 0.4 assists per Game. Winning the Player of the Year award for Arsenal from 2016 to 2019 özil would only have 23 goals and 31 assists.
All Time Assist Record
Mesut Ozil is currently 3rd in the list of players with the most assists in football history with 253 career assists as of 2021. In front of him is Luis Suarez and his former team mate Cristiano Ronaldo. The number one assist provider is Lionel Messi.
If he was performing like he was at Real Madrid it’s very likely he’d be leading the world in all-time assists by a record margin. Had he continued to play with Real Madrid, Ozil’s play style best suits a heavily offensive team and Cristiano Ronaldo and Benzema was a perfect fit for him. Ozil still created a lot of chances but his number of assists just dropped after joining Arsenal.
In my opinion just isn’t enough data to support Ozil’s poor performance at Arsenal and we cannot judge how good he is just by looking at his goals and assists. For example In the 2016 Euros Ozil completed a staggering 95 percent of his passes and as recently as a 2018 World Cup despite Germany’s early exit Ozil averaged the most chances made per 90 minutes than anyone else in the tournament.
Despite what happened to him at Arsenal he will still go down as the greatest assists of all time. And it seems things have worked out between him and Arsenal as Ozil has secured a move to the Turkish side Fenerbahce.