Mesut Özil has not given his World Cup bonus money to the children of Gaza despite reports claiming the World Cup winner had, after the Germany international cleared up the rumours by revealing he was funding sick children in Brazil to undergo surgery.
Özil was part of the Germany side that defeated Argentina in the World Cup final thanks to Mario Götze’s extra-time winner, handing the Germans their fourth World Cup success in their history.
Reports emerged that following the victory and the high-profile celebrations which included German Chancellor Angela Merkel and singer Rihanna, Özil had pledged to give his bonus to those children currently suffering in Gaza due to the on-going turmoil between Hamas and Israel.
However, when The Independent spoke to Özil’s representative, he confirmed that the Arsenal star had not donated his money to them, and has been giving money to 11 sick children in Brazil to undergo surgery. The 25-year-old would then take to his Facebook page to clear up the confusion, and reveal that he would use the bonus money to help fund more operations, with plans to take that number to 23 to replicate the number of players in the victorious Germany squad.
Video: Germany win fourth World Cup
“The claim that Mesut donated money to Gaza is not true,” said the midfielder's representative Roland Eitel.
“Maybe in the future, who knows? He donated money to causes in Brazil and he is now on holiday.”
Ozil added a picture on his official Facebook profile showing him with four children holding a large football boot and kitted out in the Germany strip, along with the message:
“Prior to the #WorldCup I supported the surgery of eleven sick children. Since the victory of the #WorldCup is not only due to eleven players but to our whole team, I will now raise the number to 23. This is my personal thank-you for the hospitality of the people of Brazil. #Bigshoe #Brasil2014”
The move has been widely praised in the football world given that a number of footballers are often caught up in controversy and slated for their actions. Özil’s gesture, both kind and thoughtful, is a reminder that actions as small as helping sick children makes a big difference for those involved, and perhaps the Germany international can act as an example to his team-mate Jack Wilshere.
In pictures: Germany return from World Cup
In pictures: Germany return from World Cup
German fans cheer as the German national team rides in an open-deck bus at Berlin's to landmark Brandenburg Gate to celebrate their FIFA World Cup title
The players of German national soccer team, Philipp Lahm with trophy, Sebastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Mueller and Sami Khedira, from left arrive at Tegel airport in Berlin
German national team players are greeted by fans as they board a bus at Berlin airport Tegel, as they arrive from Brazil after they won the FIFA World Cup 2014
Players of German national soccer squad, Philipp Lahm, Thomas Mueller, Sebastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira, from left, wave in joy as they arrive at Tegel airport in Berlin
The players of German national soccer team Philipp Lahm, Sebastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Mueller, Sami Khedira and Mats Hummels from left, arrive at Tegel airport in Berlin
The plane with the players of German national soccer team arrives at Tegel airport in Berlin
Fans cheer as the plane carrying the German national soccer team, winners of the 2014 World Cup, flies over the 'fan mile' public viewing zone before landing at Tegel airport in Berlin
Supporters of the German national soccer team celebrate as they gather on the so-called 'Fan Mile' at the landmark Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, to wait for the return of the victorious team
Supporters of the German national soccer team gather on the so-called 'Fan Mile' at the landmark Brandenburg Gate in Berlin
A man holds a scarf reading the name of Germany's midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger as German fans gather in front of a stage installed for a victory parade of Germany's football national team at Berlin's landmark Brandenburg Gate to celebrate their FIFA World Cup title
The England midfielder, who did not enjoy the best of World Cup campaigns along with the rest of the Three Lions’ squad, was caught up in a second smoking controversy in nine months after he was pictured in Las Vegas smoking and drinking in a swimming pool, with international team-mates Joe Hart and James Milner also in attendance.
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