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Ozil - I’m proud to be a role model

Mesut Ozil is “very proud” to be seen as a role model for the next generation of multi-cultural footballers in Germany.

The 26-year-old was born in Gelsenkirchen to Turkish parents, and is viewed by many as a perfect example of the way the country has integrated.

Ozil is pleased to be the face of ‘Generation M’ and hopes he can be a positive example for others to follow.

"The best example is the German national team because lots of people from other cultures come together and play with respect. That’s how it should be in general life"

Mesut Ozil

“I’m very proud but our task is to play football,” he told Arsenal Player. “Integration is a difficult topic. The best example is the German national team because lots of people from other cultures come together and play with respect. That’s how it should be in general life.

“You should be open with one another, you should treat each other with respect. If that happened, things would look different, also in general.

“I’m the sort of person who can integrate quickly,” Ozil continued. “I’m a normal person and people who know me know that I’m quite quiet and just like doing my thing. That was the case here, with the German national team and in my youth.

“For example, when I experienced things changing, like if I changed class at school, it wasn’t the case that I would worry about how I would cope not knowing anyone, it was the opposite. I was and still am very open when I meet people.

“It was like that at Arsenal too. When I joined the club, I knew some players from playing alongside them in the national team or at Werder Bremen. But in general, I enjoy being able to meet new people and experience new cultures.

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“I lived in Spain and got to know the wonderful culture and people there. Now I’m in England, where I’m learning the language and the culture.

“I love what I do and I’m thankful that football helps me develop myself by learning new languages and different cultures. I’m proud of that.”

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