Arsenal name Mesut Özil as captain for pre-season cup
Mesut Özil has been named as the Arsenal skipper for their pre-season clash against Paris Saint-Germain.
Unai Emery has entrusted the Turkish-German playmaker with the captain's armband as he faces his former employers in the International Champions Cup.
Özil, benched after his late return to training following the World Cup, sent shockwaves through German football when he quit the national team, complaining of “racism and disrespect.”
German football chief Reinhard Grindel rejected the racism charge but admitted he should have defended Özil after the playmaker was abused for having a photograph taken with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in May.
Özil, who was born in Germany to Turkish-origin parents and lifted the World Cup in 2014, also felt he was unfairly singled out for their shock group-stage exit at this year’s tournament.
Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech backed Özil to become the next captain on July 25, saying that "he is a key player for us so obviously he is the main candidate [to become captain]."
Arsenal’s new head coach, Unai Emery, and players have rallied round Özil on their pre-season tour, while the hashtags #StandWithOzil and #SayNoToRacism have been popular on social media.