Mesut Özil is back on the throne. In the Fan Club National Team player of the Year vote powered by Coca-Cola, the world champion received 45.9% of the votes, securing the title for the fourth time in his career. More than 51,000 fans voted for the Arsenal midfielder. The 27-year-old spoke to DFB.de about the award, his goal record and the upcoming European Championships in France.
DFB.de: Mr. Özil, you have been voted Germany Player of the Year in 2011, 2012, 2013 and now 2015. What does the most recent one mean to you?
Mesut Özil: It is a big honour. Ultimately, this has been voted for by the fans and it is a huge motivation for me to continue to work hard in 2016, particularly as we have big expectations for France this summer.
DFB.de: You didn’t always receive praise for your performances for the national side in 2015. How good does it feel to win this award?
Özil: That’s football, I am used to this. Sometimes you are the hero, and sometimes the scapegoat. With that said, I am aware that my performances for Germany may not have been as consistent as they have been for Arsenal. My aim for 2016 is to impress both for Germany and for Arsenal.
DFB.de: What were your personal highlights of the year just gone for Germany?
Özil: It was a year without a big tournament, no World Cup or European Championship. With that in mind, qualifying for EURO 2016 was a highlight. In terms of atmosphere, the game away against Scotland was a real highlight.
DFB.de: You appeared in eight out of nine international matches in 2015, and were on the pitch for 90 minutes in each one. How important is Mesut Özil to the national side?
Özil: I’m not the right person to say. The most important thing is that the manager puts his trust in me, and he has done so. My job is to repay Joachim Löw’s trust.
DFB.de: You are the king of assists both for Germany and Arsenal. Do you hope to score more goals in the coming year?
Özil: At the end of the day, I try to be as successful as possible in every single game – to win the match. It doesn’t really matter if I’m scoring or assisting, as long as we win. I don’t think I will be doing myself any favours if I focus on scoring more, or becoming more arrogant in front of goal – and certainly not my teammates.
DFB.de: What aims have you set yourself for 2016?
Özil: To stay fit for sure – that’s crucial. Of course, I hope also to fight for a title with both Arsenal and Germany - no question.
DFB.de: And then win the National Team Player of the Year again at the end of the year?
Özil: That’s up to the fans, and we will need to have a successful tournament this summer in France.