Birthday boy Ozil is the most creative player in Europe
Mesut Ozil seems to frustrate Arsenal fans as much as thrill them, with many citing his lack of consistency since his arrival in 2013.
However, accusing the midfielder of being inconsistent in all departments seems deeply unfair when you take one particular statistic into account.
According to Opta, Ozil, who turned 30 on Monday, has created the most chances across Europe's top five leagues since July 1, 2006: a total of 1,033.
Those numbers span his spells in the first teams at Schalke and Werder Bremen, his three full seasons at Real Madrid and the five years since he signed for the Gunners, giving a healthy spread across three different countries.
Ozil is well clear of his nearest rival, Dimitri Payet, who is on 1,016 chances created. Cesc Fabregas is third on 932, David Silva fourth on 886, and Lionel Messi fifth on 861.
The rest of the top 10 are Eden Hazard (794), Marek Hamsik (740), Juan Mata (723), Francesco Totti (696) and Cristiano Ronaldo (695).
Perhaps critics should consider this detail when Ozil is next accused of "going missing". The birthday boy, it seems, just keeps on giving.
1033 – Since the start of detailed data collection in all of Europe´s top 5 leagues (01/07/2006), birthday boy @MesutOzil1088 has created more chances than any other player (1033). Maestro. @Arsenal pic.twitter.com/k7cTBc25OM
— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) October 15, 2018