Mesut Özil has ended his footballing career with immediate effect, the 2014 World Cup winner for Germany said on Wednesday.

Özil last played at Turkey’s Basaksehir in a club career that also saw him spend three years at Spanish giants Real Madrid and eight years at England’s Arsenal.

The gifted midfielder won 92 Germany caps but then quit the team in acrimony in 2018, and made no mention of this part of his career in the retirement statement he posted on his social media channels.

“After thoughtful consideration, I’m announcing my immediate retirement from professional football,” the 34-year-old said.

“I’ve had the privilege to be a professional football player for almost 17 years and I feel incredibly thankful for the opportunity.

“But in recent weeks and months, having also suffered some injuries, it’s become more and more clear that it’s time to leave the big stage of football.”

It was only last month that his management dismissed reports he would retire and said he would fulfil his contract until the end of the season at Basaksehir.

Özil started his top flight career in 2006 at Schalke in his German birth city of Gelsenkirchen.

After two years at Werder Bremen he left in 2010 for Real, to be followed by the long Arsenal spell 2013-2021 where he was eventually no longer picked by then new manager Mikel Arteta, before playing in Turkey at Fenerbahce and since last summer at Basaksehir.

“It has been an amazing journey filled with unforgettable moments and emotions. I want to thank my clubs – Schalke, Werder Bremen, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Fenerbahce, Basaksehir and the coaches who supported me, plus team-mates who have become friends,” özil said.

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“Special thanks must go to my family members and my closest friends. They have been a part of my journey from day one and have given me so much love and support, through the good times and the bad.”

Arsenal tweeted: “Thanks for the memories – wishing you all the best in your retirement, Mesut.” Real expressed its “appreciation, its admiration and its affection for one of our great players,” and Schalke tweeted “all the best”, accompanied by a heart emoji.

Özil played 92 games for Germany between 2009 and 2018 and won the World Cup in Brazil nine years ago.

He retired from the team after a group stage exit at the 2018 tournament in Russia, after coming under fire for his performances, and over a pre-tournament photo showing him together with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

This led to a fierce backlash and Özil accused the German Football Federation (DFB) of having not protected him well enough against racist and insulting comments, while also accusing the DFB of racism.

Germany coach Hansi Flick, who knows Özil from his days as assistant of Joachim Löw, praised Özil as “one of our outstanding national players” in a DFB statement on Wednesday.

“In his most successful period, he was one of the best footballers in the world. He helped shape the national team for almost a decade, the highlight being winning the World Cup title in 2014, to which he also made a decisive contribution.

“All of us at the national team wish him and his family all the best for the future.”

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Germany striker Niklas Füllkrug named Özil “an extremely good and special footballer” in a team news conference.

Real and Germany defender Antonio Rüdiger said in Instagram: “I will tell my kids one day how outstanding Mesut Özil was and how priviliged I am to have shared the pitch with one of the most gifted players I’ve ever seen.”

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