Arsenal midfielder Mesut Özil retired from international soccer after this summer’s World Cup. While he hasn’t quite hung up his boots yet, and will likely be a key part of the Gunners’ 2018/19 campaign, Özil is now planning a foray into esports. He is partnering with the eSportsReputation agency to create Team Ozil.
?"How cheeky is that": I'm teaming up with @eSports_Rep to form my own @EASPORTSFIFA team. ?? In the upcoming weeks we'll look out for players around the world who will represent #teamozil in all major national and international EA FIFA competitions ????? pic.twitter.com/ie25DwhBr4
— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) August 2, 2018
Before retiring from international soccer, Özil helped Germany win its fourth World Cup in 2014. He is reportedly already a fan of the FIFA videogame series, and was named as a brand ambassador for the FIFA eWorld Cup 2018. (The Grand Final of the eWorld Cup is currently taking place in London.)
“I have followed the EA SPORTS FIFA 18 Global Series throughout the year and I am really impressed by the performances of the Grand Finalists so far,” Özil said in June. “I am excited to be part of their journey and look forward to welcoming them in London, I know that playing at a FIFA World Cup and representing your country is a highlight for all athletes and something truly unforgettable.”
Team Ozil is now on the look out for players to add to its squad. The team plans to compete in both national and international tournaments in FIFA 19.
With the launch of Team Ozil, the Arsenal player becomes yet another in a growing line of soccer stars that are investing in esports teams. Last December, Barcelona defender Gerard Piqué teamed up with Konami to launch a new esports league. In January, Dutch legend Ruud Gullit launched a FIFA esports academy. In June, Leicester City’s Christian Fuchs became the first English Premier League player to sponsor his own team.