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Footballer Ozil to mark wedding celebrations by funding surgery for 1,000 children

Mesut Ozil and his new wife will pay for 1,000 children to have surgeries [Twitter]

Date of publication: 8 June, 2019

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Arsenal midfielder and former German international footballer Mesut Ozil has asked for his wedding gift to be donations to a charity that provides needed surgeries to children in developing countries.

Footballer Mesut Ozil and his new wife Amine Gulse are marking their wedding day festivities with a charitable donation that will allow 1,000 children to have life changing surgeries.

Former German international footballer Ozil married the former Miss Turkey in Istanbul on Friday at a luxury hotel on the banks of the Bosphorus with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as his best man.

Ozil asked wedding guests to donate to charity which funds operations for children who suffer from burns, club feet and cleft lip and palate in developing countries, rather than buy the couple gifts.

"Many fans have asked me, my close relatives and friends about our wishes for tomorrow's wedding," the Arsenal midfielder wrote in an Instagram post.

"As a professional footballer I am in a fortunate and privileged position. However, I invite everyone who is willing and able to help to support a very special project close to both of our hearts."

He then announced: "Amine and I will bear the expenses for surgeries of 1,000 children in need."

The 30-year-old, a German national with Turkish family roots, sparked controversy last year when he was photographed with Erdogan, raising questions about the footballer's loyalty to Germany on the eve of their disastrous 2018 World Cup campaign.

After 92 appearances for Germany, including a key role in the 2014 World Cup victory, Ozil suddenly quit the national squad last July.

Germany's early defeat in the 2018 World Cup led to Ozil receiving hate mail, threats and widespread media criticism. 

Ozil announced his resignation from the national squad thereafter, saying: "I am German when we win, an immigrant when we lose."

Ozil has dated Gulse since 2017 and the couple announced their engagement in June 2018.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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