Arsenal fans are well aware of Mesut Ozil’s penchant for assisting his team-mates on the pitch but Gooners may not be aware of how he’s also helping others off it.
Ozil is having the season of his life for the Gunners, after providing 13 assists in the Premier League, but the 27-year-old is determined to keep his feet firmly on the ground.
The German playmaker has explained his involvement in charity work and revealed the humble beginnings which have made him the way he is.
‘I want to help people in need but I don’t want people to know I’m doing it,’ Ozil told the Times.
‘Usually I don’t like talking about it. I come from a background where you don’t show off the good things you do. It’s modesty.
‘My aim is helping kids. Kids are the future. I love children. I’m thinking of my own childhood. I know where I’m from. If I wanted something, I couldn’t get it. Life wasn’t easy.’
Last year, it was revealed Ozil had begun inviting disabled children to his private box for Arsenal’s home games at the Emirates and during the World Cup in Brazil, he financed German doctors to visit villages in the Amazon to operate on children with cleft palates.
This started with just 11 operations but, after Ozil’s Germany had lifted the trophy at the Maracana, another 23 children had received treatment – now Ozil’s doctors are in Africa.
‘Things I didn’t have in the past I try to give to kids. I know how it feels not to have things. We were poor but we had enough food to eat,’ Ozil went on to explain.
‘It was a big family, four kids, and it was not like you could just go and buy something. But we had the essentials, the food.’
Ahead of tonight’s Premier League tie with Manchester City, every member of Arsene Wenger’s squad will be donating a day’s wages to raise funds for the children of Arsenal Foundation.