Mesut Ozil has spoken in depth about the harrowing attempted robbery he, teammate Sead Kolasinac and their wives were faced with while out together in north London earlier this year.
Back in July, the Arsenal duo were targeted as they drove through the leafy suburb of Childs Hills in Ozil's Black Mercedes, before being chased for a mile by knife-wielding attackers riding mopeds.
The incident was briefly captured on CCTV, in which Kolasinac is seen fending off the assailants with his bare hands, while Ozil and their partners were trapped inside the car, before the German sped off and overtook oncoming traffic to reach a Turkish restaurant on Golders Green Road.
Speaking to The Athletic about the incident for the first time, Ozil retold the terrifying events of July, which left him and his wife shaken.
“I drove from my house to Sead’s,” Ozil recalled. “He was outside and we spoke. My wife was sitting next to me. Then these guys came. We were looking at each other for 10-15 seconds. Then we noticed that they had a weapon and something was going wrong.
“They told him directly, ‘Give us your watch!’. Sead’s reaction was really, really brave because he attacked one of the attackers. We were newly wed and I was scared about my wife. I was scared about Sead. I wasn’t thinking about myself. I was worried they were going to open my wife’s door and they tried, so I reached across her to keep it closed."
Faced with uncertainty over his and everyone else's safety, the 31-year-old then revealed how he was forced to speed off at the first opportunity, in a desperate bid to evade the attackers.
“I saw one chance to drive. If they got to my wife, something terrible might have happened to her. It was going so quickly that you can’t think properly. I drove a little bit forwards and backwards to try and get the moped away. I told Sead, “Jump in! Jump in!” and thankfully he did," he added.
“I started driving but they followed. I was driving very fast but they kept coming close on the moped. I tried to move the car, block them, escape, but each time they would be there. My wife was extremely scared. Nothing happened to us, that’s the most important thing."
Admitting the worry over potential further attacks has now dissipated, the Premier League star did confess he was worried for his wife's well-being in the aftermath of the horrifying ordeal.
He said: “Something like this has never happened to us before. She told me — and Sead’s wife told him — let’s go back to our families, to be safe and let everything calm down. It was a bad couple of weeks but never made me want to leave London permanently. Now, even for my wife, everything is OK."