Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil has used his World Cup winnings to help fund the surgeries of 23 Brazilian children.
News of the Arsenal star’s good deed emerged Wednesday evening following a week of misinformation concerning where Ozil directed his winnings.
Originally, a rumor claimed that Ozil had sent his earnings to Gaza. This was then reported and re-reported through various Arabic language outlets before eventually emerging in English publications where it was found to be false.
Earlier today the story grew so large that Ozil’s representatives were forced to issue a public denial, wherein the player’s benevolent actions were clarified. Roland Eitel told the AP:
“The claim that Mesut donated money to Gaza is not true. Maybe in the future, who knows? He donated money to causes in Brazil and he is now on holiday.”
Since then, Ozil has taken to Facebook to update his profile and explain that before the tournament he “supported the surgery” of 11 children in Brazil but that since Germany’s success he has increased that number to 23.
From all of us here at Pro Soccer Talk — Mesut Ozil, we salute you!
Italy took a 1-0 lead over Azerbaijan through the in-form Eder in the 11th minute, but the true leg-work (see what I did there) came from bite-sized midfielder Marco Verratti.
The PSG playmaker pinged a beautiful long ball over the top of the Azerbaijan defense that fell right at the feet of Eder, who let the ball settle itself and touched home confidently past Kamran Arhayev for a 1-0 lead.
The goal is the second of Eder’s national career in just five caps, having scored on debut against Bulgaria back in March. He has six goals in seven matches for Sampdoria so far this Serie A season.
Italy needs three points in this match to ensure qualification to Euro 2016. A win would guarantee them a place in the field, while anything less would mean there is work to do in the final match on Tuesday against Norway.
Later in the match, Stephan El Shaarawy gave Italy a 2-1 lead just before halftime, his second career international goal and his first since September of 2012 which came in his third career start.
As soon as Brendan Rodgers was dismissed by Liverpool on Sunday, Jurgen Klopp’s name was tossed around as the likely successor to the then-vacant Liverpool managerial position.
However, according to Klopp’s representatve Marc Kosicke, Liverpool did not make contact with the German until after Rodgers had been officially let go.
“The first call from Liverpool came after the dismissal as coach of Rodgers,” Kosicke told Bild. “Before Liverpool there were naturally quite a few inquiries. But Jurgen always asked me not to take it any further.”
Club management was less committal than Klopp’s rep, but did say they had their eye on the German for some time. “We have learned to keep certain matters confidential. We had a meeting recently with Jurgen that he has talked about and I don’t want to talk too much about these conversations. But we have thought about him for a long time and everyone who knows football knows he is an outstanding manager.”
It’s relatively hard to believe Liverpool would have canned Rodgers without knowing for sure that a top-level target such as Klopp or Carlo Ancelotti were on board to replace him. It also would mean discussions of the contract terms and logistics would have moved at lightning speed, with just four days between the Rodgers dismissal and Klopp’s official unveiling.