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German footballer Mesut Özil and teammate targeted by ‘armed car-jackers’

German footballer Mesut Özil and his Arsenal teammate Sead Kolasinac were attacked by 'knife-wielding car-jackers' in a terrifying ordeal which was captured on video and circulated on social media.

German footballer Mesut Özil and teammate targeted by 'armed car-jackers'
German footballer Mesut Özil and his Arsenal teammate Sead Kolasinac. Photo: DPA

In the footage, the Premier League club's Bosnian defender Kolasinac is seen leaping from the vehicle to confront the masked aggressors, who had pulled up alongside the car on mopeds in the Golders Green district of north London on Thursday evening.

Both attackers appeared to brandish knives at the 26-year-old Kolasinac. A YouTube video by the German football channel TeamEvil shows, through repeat footage, how Kolasinac fought off one of the attackers. 

“We have been in contact with both players and they are fine,” said a spokesman for Arsenal.

Police confirmed that they had responded to reports of an attempted robbery.

“It was reported that suspects on motorbikes had attempted to rob a man who was driving a car,” a spokesman for the Met Police told AFP.

“The driver, along with his passenger, managed to get away unharmed and travelled to a restaurant in Golders Green, where they were spoken to by officers.

“There have been no arrests. Enquiries continue.”

Kolasinac and midfielder Özil are not the first footballers to be targeted on London's streets.

In 2016, Andy Carroll, a former West Ham player, was threatened at gunpoint on his way home from training.

Controversy last year

In June former German international footballer Özil was married in Istanbul with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as his best man.

READ ALSO: Five key dates in the Mesut Özil saga

The 30-year-old, who has 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, Özil suddenly quit the national squad last July, accusing German football officials of racism.

READ ALSO: DFB president Grindel admits to mistakes in Özil affair

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FOOTBALL

Putellas becomes second Spanish footballer in history to win Ballon d’Or

Alexia Putellas of Barcelona and Spain won the women's Ballon d'Or prize on Monday, becoming only the second Spanish-born footballer in history to be considered the best in the world, and claiming a win for Spain after a 61-year wait.

FC Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas poses after being awarded thewomen's Ballon d'Or award.
FC Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas poses after being awarded thewomen's Ballon d'Or award. Photo: FRANCK FIFE / AFP

Putellas is the third winner of the prize, following in the footsteps of Ada Hegerberg, who won the inaugural women’s Ballon d’Or in 2018, and United States World Cup star Megan Rapinoe, winner in 2019.

Putellas captained Barcelona to victory in this year’s Champions League, scoring a penalty in the final as her side hammered Chelsea 4-0 in Gothenburg.

She also won a Spanish league and cup double with Barca, the club she joined as a teenager in 2012, and helped her country qualify for the upcoming Women’s Euro in England.

Her Barcelona and Spain teammate Jennifer Hermoso finished second in the voting, with Sam Kerr of Chelsea and Australia coming in third.

It completes an awards double for Putellas, who in August was named player of the year by European football’s governing body UEFA.

But it’s also a huge win for Spain as it’s the first time in 61 years that a Spanish footballer – male or female – is crowned the world’s best footballer of the year, and only the second time in history a Spaniard wins the Ballon d’Or. 

Former Spanish midfielder Luis Suárez (not the ex Liverpool and Barça player now at Atlético) was the only Spanish-born footballer to win the award in 1960 while at Inter Milan. Argentinian-born Alfredo Di Stefano, the Real Madrid star who took up Spanish citizenship, also won it in 1959.

Who is Alexia Putellas?

Alexia Putellas grew up dreaming of playing for Barcelona and after clinching the treble of league, cup and Champions League last season, her status as a women’s footballing icon was underlined as she claimed the Ballon d’Or on Monday.

Unlike the men’s side, Barca’s women swept the board last term with the 27-year-old, who wears “Alexia” on the back of her shirt, at the forefront, months before Lionel Messi’s emotional departure.

Attacker Putellas, who turns 28 in February, spent her childhood less than an hour’s car journey from the Camp Nou and she made her first trip to the ground from her hometown of Mollet del Valles, for the Barcelona derby on January 6, 2000.

Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas (R) vies with VfL Wolfsburg's German defender Kathrin Hendrich
Putellas plays as a striker for Barça and Spain. GABRIEL BOUYS / POOL / AFP

Exactly 21 years later she became the first woman in the modern era to score in the stadium, against Espanyol. Her name was engraved in the club’s history from that day forward, but her story started much earlier.

She started playing the sport in school, against boys.

“My mum had enough of me coming home with bruises on my legs, so she signed me up at a club so that I stopped playing during break-time,” Putellas said last year.

So, with her parent’s insistence, she joined Sabadell before being signed by Barca’s academy.

“That’s where things got serious… But you couldn’t envisage, with all one’s power, to make a living from football,” she said.

After less than a year with “her” outfit, she moved across town to Espanyol and made her first-team debut in 2010 before losing to Barca in the final of the Copa de la Reina.

She then headed south for a season at Valencia-based club Levante before returning “home” in July 2012, signing for Barcelona just two months after her father’s death.

In her first term there she helped Barca win the league and cup double, winning the award for player of the match in the final of the latter competition.

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