If you are looking for an explanation as to why Mesut Özil has been silent in the face of the criticism of his decision to meet with, and have his picture taken with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, you may want to cast your mind back 11 years.
That’s when he was still a promising youngster at Schalke and found himself in disagreement with club management over which jersey number he should wear.
It was over the number 10, which, even though players no longer wear numbers according to their positions on the field, still symbolizes authority – the guy who wears number 10 is traditionally seen as the guy who pulls the strings on the pitch. But still, it was only about a jersey number, and whether he or the newly purchased Ivan Rakitic should get to wear it.
The public verbal battle wasn’t fought by Özil, but by his father, Mustafa, who, at the time, was also his agent. In the end, Özil simply took a move to Werder Bremen – without uttering a public word about the affair.
Mustafa Özil remains his mouthpiece
Mesut Özil has never been a man of many words. All the 29-year-old has ever really wanted to do is kick a ball – and let others speak for him away from the pitch. Anyone who knows this about Özil will not have been surprised that he has been completely silent on the Erdogan affair. Again it is Mustafa, who is no longer his agent, who has rushed to his public defense.
“In Mesut’s place, I would resign,” he told mass-circulation newspaper Bild in a recent interview.