Will Mesut Özil Become an Esports Star Following Retirement?
As renowned, iconic soccer player Mesut Özil approaches retirement, he may be considering becoming another kind of athlete. Once upon a time, Özil, now 33 years old, played on the frontlines as Germany battled its way to winning the FIFA World Cup in 2014. Since 2006, Özil has been regarded as a remarkable playmaker, winning countless trophies and becoming known as one of the greatest football players to ever emerge from Germany.
However, Özil’s professional life took a somewhat unexpected turn in 2018 when he founded M10, a German esports organisation. In the years that followed, it was revealed that Mesut Özil is an avid gamer, and in fact, he’s considerably skilled when it comes to games like FIFA (of course) and Fortnite. When he founded an esports organisation, it was his way of legitimately forging a path into an industry that he loves just as much as football.
And now, it seems that Mesut Özil dreams of becoming an esports athlete when he retires from football.
Could Mesut Özil Become an Esports Athlete?
As a result of Mesut Özil’s celebrity profile, M10 has amassed a considerable following in a relatively short period of time. On the various social media platforms, M10 has blossomed, such as on Instagram, where the organisation boasts almost 80,000 followers. Since 2018, Özil has been working to set up partnerships and sponsorship deals which have already included sneakers, gaming peripherals, and in-game items.
In June of 2022, Mesut Özil was effectively benched from the first team of his current club, Fenerbahce. It’s a sign of desperate times and, in a bizarre twist, his own agent, Dr Erkut Sogut, has outrightly claimed a change of profession is on the cards for the legendary footballer. In a statement, Sogut explained:
He will go more into esports, play himself, and maybe become an esports athlete. He’s really good, to be honest, at Fortnite, and I think one day I wouldn’t be surprised if he is competing. He owns a team – M10 esports – and he has players. He has a gaming house in Germany, he has football, like FIFA, and Fortnite.
For those that may doubt this decision, it’s important to stress that the groundwork has already been laid. On Twitch, Mesut Özil boasts 175,000 followers, despite not streaming regularly by any means. He’s massively prolific, enjoys games, has a fantastic setup (from what we’ve seen), and he certainly wouldn’t be the first footballer to pick up the pad and turn to esports.
From Pitch to Pad
In recent years, many professional athletes have turned to streaming and esports, exploring their passion off the pitch. For instance, Ronaldo Názario, a two-time FIFA World Cup winner, has racked up more than 400k followers on Twitch and broadcasts Warzone gameplay. In the past, Kevin De Bruyne has gone live on Twitch to show off his Fortnite skills, and his ex-teammate, Kun Aguero, boasts a massive 4 million followers on Twitch.
With streaming, esports betting, tournaments, and all other aspects of the industry becoming increasingly popular, this trend is constantly growing. What else is there for a footballer to do in their downtime but play video games, right?
Mesut Özil may be the first to take that hobby one step further and become a legitimate esports athlete, is all.