Recently Arsene Wenger revealed that he believes Mesut Ozil has fallen for London’s charm and now the German has opened up about his love of the city and people who live there.
Speaking in an in-depth interview with Arsenal.com, the midfielder explained his affinity for the city and how it made him feel right at home from the start.
The 26-year-old has spoken before about his appreciation of different cultures and experiencing other countries, and this appears to be where his adoration of the Big Smoke comes from. It’s multicultural and known for being one of the most accepting cities in the world.
“I’ve always felt at home here,” he said. “London is a different calibre, a city with so many different cultures and that’s something I’ve never seen before. That gives me the opportunity not just to learn one culture. Wherever I go, you get to meet so many different types of people and that’s something that fascinates me.
“That’s also why I love living in London. It’s just unparalleled and when my family who live in Germany come to visit London, they are all really positive about the city and how nice it is. I can only confirm that.”
Comparing London to his old city, Madrid, he said, “It’s really nice, to live here especially because I didn’t have to acclimatise to anything. In Madrid, you have to slightly adapt to the Spanish culture. But because of the many cultures here, it gave me the opportunity not to have to really adjust to the way of life. You have many different cultures here.
Adding, “It’s really good. You have the opportunity to take a bit from every culture. If you want English, Japanese or German cuisine, you can have that. There’s a bit of all cultures here and that’s why it’s never boring. You have lots of opportunities to try new things, and it’s exactly like that with food. Nowhere else do you have the possibilities that you have in London. That’s why I like to go out in the evening and try different things, not just one type. I especially like Turkish food but am open to trying food from other cultures and I do that.”
For some players, the culture shock of moving to London can be difficult to cope with. A different climate, traditions and language can be jarring, particularly for young players who have to leave their friends and family behind.
However, Ozil is a well-adjusted 26-year-old with his feet firmly planted on the ground, and seems to have thrived in the new environment since he joined just two years ago.
“I’ve always felt comfortable here, especially because my friends and team-mates have supported me so well,” he gushed. “The city is very interesting too.
“I really like the English culture, and the sense of humour. For example after we won the FA Cup final in 2014, I shouted “ja Gunners ja” into the camera and it’s almost become a cult here. The fans have supported me so well and that’s why I do it. When I post on Instagram, I always use the hashtag #YaGunnersYa. I like that humour and find it nice.
“I like to be in London because the city has so much to offer. That’s why I love living here. I don’t think you have as many choices as in London anywhere else in Europe. There are many things to do here, many options for how you spend your time, and that’s really good for us. I come from Gelsenkirchen, from a small city where there aren’t as many options as in London. That’s why I’m relishing my time here.”
Long may his love affair with London, and particularly Arsenal, continue.