London: Mezut Ozil has opened up about being at the centre of an attempted car-jacking, saying he feared for his wife’s safety during the terrifying ordeal in London.
The Arsenal midfielder, his wife Amine and teammate Sead Kolasinac were all caught up in the incident on July 25, two weeks before the start of the Premier League season.
Footage on social media showed Bosnian defender Kolasinac chasing off two moped attackers who were wearing helmets and dark clothing.
A man earlier this month admitted in a London court to trying to rob Ozil and Kolasinac and will be sentenced in November.
“Sead’s reaction was really, really brave because he attacked one of the attackers,” Ozil, 31, said in an interview with The Athletic.
“The second one was in front of my car on his moped so I couldn’t drive.”
“We were newly wed and I was scared about my wife. I was scared about Sead. I wasn’t thinking about myself. I was worried they were going to open my wife’s door and they tried, so I reached across her to keep it closed.”
Ozil, currently out of favour at Arsenal, said although nobody was harmed physically, the incident shook up his wife.
“My wife wanted to get away immediately,” said the former Germany international.
“She didn’t feel safe. Even if I let our dogs into the garden and went out with them she would say, ‘Come in, come in, stay in the house.’ She was very concerned.”
But he said the incident did not make him want to leave London permanently and he planned to stay at Arsenal until the end of his contract in 2021.
The World Cup winner has played just two matches this season, fuelling speculation over his long-term future.
“When I signed the new deal (in 2018) I thought about it very carefully and said it was one of the most important decisions of my footballing career,” he said.
“I didn’t want to stay for just one or two more years, I wanted to commit my future to Arsenal and the club wanted me to do the same.
“You can go through difficult times, like this, but that is no reason to run away and I’m not going to. I’m here until at least 2021.”
Ozil spoke of his disappointment that he was often singled out for blame when Unai Emery’s team were under-performing.
“If we don’t do well in a ‘big’ game, it’s always my fault,” said the midfielder, who joined Arsenal from Real Madrid in 2013.
“If that’s true, how do you explain our results in the ‘big’ games when I wasn’t involved? There’s no real difference. I know people expect me to offer more, dictate play and make the difference — I do, too — but it’s not that straightforward.”