GERMANY AND ARSENAL FOOTBALL STAR MESUT ÖZIL ANNOUNCED AS NEWEST LAUREUS AMBASSADOR

  • Midfield playmaker known for assists on the pitch, focuses on assisting youngsters from Laureus KICKFORMORE project
  • ‘As a Laureus Sport for Good Ambassador, I am looking forward to giving something back to society and helping young people’ – says Mesut Özil
  • Laureus Sport for Good inspires social change around the world
  • Images of Mesut Özil available at https://www.laureusarchive.com

STUTTGART, June 8, 2016 – Just days before the start of the European Championship in France, Germany and Arsenal midfielder Mesut Özil has taken time out of his preparations to inspire young people from the Laureus-supported KICKFORMORE project in Stuttgart. During the visit, Özil was announced as the latest Laureus Sport for Good Ambassador.

The highly successful German football star took part in the football activities with the young people, playing by the particular rules of KICKFAIR street football.

At KICKFORMORE, two mixed teams of four players play in short matches, without a referee. Both teams agree on three individual rules before the match. Afterwards, both teams jointly evaluate whether all players have played by the rules and fairness points are awarded and added to the final score.

Mesut Özil’s visit was not only a special highlight for the project participants, but also for the player himself: " There are children here from several different cultural backgrounds, but it’s obvious that they are all united among nations and that it works out well. Most importantly, they are very respectful with each other, which is very much the same like in the German National team ,” said Özil .

" For me, community involvement is very important and I can identify with the mission of Laureus Sport for Good. Sport, in my case football, has changed my life and influenced me positively. I am eager to give something back to society and to help children and young people who need assistance ,” Özil commented, providing his reasoning for becoming a Laureus Sport for Good Ambassador.

An attacking midfielder known for his goal assists on the football pitch, Mesut Özil began his senior career at FC Schalke in Germany, before spending five years at Werder Bremen. In 2010, Özil signed for Real Madrid, where he won a La Liga title and the Copa Del Ray. In 2013, Ozil signed for Arsenal, where he currently plays and regularly tops the assist charts.

Internationally, Özil made his Germany debut in 2009. In 2010 he helped his country towards a third-place finish at the South Africa World Cup. In 2014, Özil played a central role in the Germany team which won the World Cup in Brazil.

In November 2014, he was presented with a special Laureus prize for his charity work after making personal donations which helped to make surgery possible on 23 Brazilian children, primarily suffering from cleft lips and palates, during the World Cup.

Özil said at the time: " Making the donation was a foregone conclusion as far as I was concerned. We wanted to make a lasting mark in the World Cup country of Brazil and this is something which I think we managed to achieve with the operations on these children. "

Former KICKFORMORE participant and current project leader, Marcel Mautz , highlighted the impact the KICKFORMORE has had on his life. He said: " KICKFORMORE has changed my life. Sport showed me that I can make something of my life and move forward. And I've learned how important it is to work in a team. In KICKFORMORE all see eye to eye, we listen to each other and have the same goal. The project is for me like a family .”

Since its inception, Laureus has raised over €100 million for projects which have helped to improve the lives of millions of young people. The mission of Laureus Sport for Good is to use sport as a means to tackle some of the toughest social challenges facing young people today such as violence, discrimination and disadvantage.

About Us

Laureus is a universal movement that celebrates the power of sport to bring people together as a force for good. Laureus is composed of three core elements - the Laureus World Sports Academy, Laureus Sport for Good and the Laureus World Sports Awards - which collectively celebrate sporting excellence and use sport as the means to promote social change. The first Patron of Laureus was Nelson Mandela. At the inaugural Laureus World Sports Awards in 2000, he said: “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair.” This has become the philosophy of Laureus; the driving force behind its work. The members of the Laureus World Sports Academy are: Giacomo Agostini, Marcus Allen, Franz Beckenbauer, Boris Becker, Ian Botham, Sergey Bubka, Cafu, Bobby Charlton, Sebastian Coe, Nadia Comaneci, Yaping Deng, Marcel Desailly, Kapil Dev, Mick Doohan, David Douillet, Rahul Dravid, Luis Figo, Emerson Fittipaldi, Sean Fitzpatrick (Chairman), Dawn Fraser, Cathy Freeman, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Mika Häkkinen, Tony Hawk, Maria Höfl-Riesch, Mike Horn, Miguel Indurain, Michael Johnson, Kip Keino, Franz Klammer, Tegla Loroupe, Dan Marino, Yao Ming, Edwin Moses, Nawal El Moutawakel, Li Na, Robby Naish, Ilie Nastase, Martina Navratilova, Alexey Nemov, Jack Nicklaus, Brian O’Driscoll, Alessandro Del Piero, Gary Player, Morné du Plessis, Hugo Porta, Carles Puyol, Raúl, Steve Redgrave, Vivian Richards, Monica Seles, Mark Spitz, Sachin Tendulkar, Daley Thompson, Alberto Tomba, Steve Waugh, Katarina Witt, Li Xiaopeng and Yang Yang. The Laureus Academy Members volunteer their services as global ambassadors for Laureus Sport for Good, which was set up to promote the use of sport as a tool for social change. Laureus Sport for Good addresses social challenges through a worldwide programme of sports related community development initiatives. Since its inception, Laureus has raised over €100 million for projects which have helped to improve the lives of millions of young people. The mission of Laureus Sport for Good is to use sport as a means to combat some of the toughest social challenges facing young people today such as violence and crime, discrimination, unemployment, lack of education and health threats including HIV/AIDS and obesity. The Laureus World Sports Awards is the premier global sports awards honouring the greatest sportsmen and women across all sports each year. The winners are selected by the ultimate sports jury – 60 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, the living legends of sport honouring the great athletes of today. The Awards are presented at an annual Awards Ceremony, attended by global figures from sport and entertainment, which is broadcast to 160 countries and territories. The Awards continue to support Laureus Sport for Good by showcasing the incredible work it does with athletes and partners to transform the lives of individuals and promoting to a global audience the power of sport as a development tool to combat challenging social issues. Laureus was founded by its Patrons Richemont and Daimler and is supported by its Global Partners Mercedes-Benz and IWC Schaffhausen. Mercedes-BenzMercedes-Benz is the inventor of the automobile – and has been passionately shaping its future since 1886. As pioneers in automotive engineering, it is both our inspiration and responsibility to continue the tradition of the brand with trailblazing technologies and high-quality products. Like no other trademark in the automotive world, Mercedes-Benz appeals to both the hearts and minds of its customers. We give our very best for customers who expect the very best. Since the founding fathers Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz, our corporate history has been one of innovation and pioneering achievements. Many technical innovations that are nowadays standard in automobiles first entered the market in a Mercedes-Benz. This is the basis for our claim to leadership in automotive engineering. The brand stands for Modern Luxury, and enjoys an outstanding reputation for quality, safety, comfort, design and comprehensive, sustainable mobility. IWC SchaffhausenWith a clear focus on technology and development, the Swiss watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen has been producing timepieces of lasting value since 1868. The company has gained an international reputation based on a passion for innovative solutions and technical ingenuity. One of the world’s leading brands in the luxury watch segment, IWC crafts masterpieces of haute horlogerie at their finest, combining supreme precision with exclusive design. As an ecologically and socially responsible company, IWC is committed to sustainable production, supports institutions around the globe in their work with children and young people and maintains partnerships with organisations dedicated to climate and environmental protection.

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