When Mesut Ozil was handed the World Cup trophy in the heat and hysteria of the Maracana following Germany’s victory over Argentina, he experienced an array of emotions.
After years of going close, but not quite close enough, Joachim Low’s side had finally fulfilled their potential and lifted the sport’s ultimate prize. Joy, disbelief, vindication and no little sense of relief dominated Ozil’s thoughts as his team-mates celebrated around him and the noise from the stands continued to rise.
But it was not until the German side’s return home that the full extent of their achievement really hit home for the Arsenal playmaker. And that is when he felt a deep sense of pride and personal fulfilment.
There were so many emotions attached with [winning]. After the final, we celebrated with the fans in Berlin. I’ve never experienced goosebumps like that Mesut Ozil
“You don’t really take it in at first, even in the days after,” Ozil told Arsenal Player. “As children, the whole team dreamt of that moment. You want to win the biggest tournament in the world and when you have the opportunity to do that, everything must fit. That’s happened with us in the summer.
“When I had the trophy in my hands, there were lots of emotions because you develop and work for four years - first to qualify and then to be at the tournament. But the feeling of winning it was incredible.
“In the past, we’ve been unlucky or not quite been able to maximise our potential and have gone out just before the end [of major tournaments]. This time, we were finally able to overcome that and reach the final. Once we got there, we knew that we could bring back the trophy.
“We did it and there were so many emotions attached with achieving that. After the final, we celebrated with the fans in Berlin and that was amazing. I’ve never experienced goosebumps like that and I’m definitely really proud.”
Ozil was a key member of Low’s squad in Brazil and, according to Fifa's 'Castrol Index', the fifth best midfielder at the tournament. Lifting the trophy and performing so well in the final felt like the perfect way to respond to some of the criticism he has received, both at home and in England.
“I was very satisfied,” he said. “It’s important to remember that I played on the left flank, a position that I’ve never really played in before. In the past, I’ve either been on the right side or in the playmaker position. I’m pleased with the statistics and they are part of the reason I was content with my performances.
We were all respectful of one another and we knew what we could do. We had fun and had many great experiences in Brazil
“Lots of people in the media had their say before the tournament and gave many opinions, some positive and some negative, about the team and individual players - things like us not being a team or not being mature enough, that some players wouldn’t battle enough or weren’t able to do certain things. We proved to everyone what strong character we have as a team.
“Of course you need some luck at a tournament like the World Cup too. The success shows that we are strong and that as a team and as individuals, we did not let ourselves be affected by what was reported in the media. We always believed in ourselves and there was always positive energy around the team.
“We were all respectful of one another and we knew what we could do. We had fun and had many great experiences in Brazil. That makes our success sweeter and like I said, I’m very proud of the whole team,”