Mesut Ozil begins paying for 1000 children to have life-changing operations

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Mesut Ozil is enduring another difficult season at Arsenal, but let's put aside his football career for a moment. 

The playmaker hit the headlines recently for speaking out against the Chinese state's treatment of Uighur Muslims. 

It was brave stance to take and in an era when Megan Rapinoe has criticised leading male footballers for not addressing issues of social justice, Ozil earned plaudits for raising awareness. 

However, not only did Arsenal refuse to back him - insisting they are an 'apolitical organisation' - he received a backlash from the Chinese media. 

Not only was the north Londoners' 3-0 defeat to Manchester City blacked out on Chinese TV, Ozil has also been removed from the country's version of Pro Evolution Soccer. 

While the 31-year-old is often fairly criticised for his nonchalance on the pitch, not enough is said about the kind of man he is off it.

Back in June, he made a pledge to pay for 1000 children to have life-changing operations to celebrate his wedding to actress Amine Gülşe. 

The midfielder has now made good on his promise and has already made a start by funding 219 procedures for kids in need. 

Ozil wrote on Twitter: 

"219 operations are already done, but there’s still many more to come going forward! As my wife Amine and I announced before our wedding in June 2019, we're covering the costs of another 1,000 life-changing surgeries for children in need around the world.

"A big thank you goes out to BigShoe for the amazing co-operation over the last couple of years.

"Thank you to every single wedding guest, fan and follower who has donated towards this project, and a special thank you to all the international medical teams that are involved.

"This is just the start! Let’s look forward to 2020, and help hundreds of other children in need all together."

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What a fantastic gesture. 

It isn't Ozil's first, either. The former Germany international has a long-standing relationship with charity BigShoe, an organisation working with German and Swiss doctors. 

During the previous two World Cups, he funded children's operations in Brazil and Russia. 

Regardless of what happens on the pitch under the new leadership of Mikel Arteta at the Emirates, Ozil can end 2019 knowing he's made a huge difference to hundreds of families' lives around the world. 

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