Arsenal stars Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac were chased for a mile by knife-wielding motorbike riders in an attempted daylight car-jacking in north London yesterday.
Ozil, a £350,000-a-week midfielder, was ambushed by the robbers as he drove his black Mercedes G-Class through leafy Childs Hill at around 5pm on Thursday.
But as the thugs surrounded the 4×4, Ozil’s Arsenal teammate and childhood friend, Sead ‘The Tank’ Kolasinac, leapt out and bravely took them on.
CCTV footage form the scene shows Kolasinac swinging punches at the attackers and standing his ground against them despite being threatened with a knife. The attackers’ motorbike pulls away as the footage cuts.
But rather than that being the end of the drama, the players were then chased through the mansion-lined streets of north London in Ozil’s 4×4 in a high-speed chase that lasted for more than a mile.
As the front passenger-side door of the vehicle hangs precariously open with Mesut Ozil inside, Sead Kolasinac can be seen facing off one of the attackers who appears to be wielding a blade
Kolasinac can be seen darting from the front end of the car to the rear as he faces off the assailants while protecting the passenger side door of the SUV
Mesut Ozil (dyed blonde hair) was pictured talking to officers outside Turkish restaurant Likya on Golders Green Road in north London after the wild attack
Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac’s terrifying route through north London on Thursday afternoon as two motorbike engines revved behind Ozil’s G-Wagon
DID YOU WITNESS THE ARSENAL PLAYERS BEING ATTACKED?
Email us at email@example.com or call the newsdesk on 020 3615 1824
The childhood friends sped towards a Turkish restaurant on Golders Green Road where they are known, and staff raced to their aid as they abandoned the Mercedes 4×4 in the road.
Witnesses said 30-year-old Ozil looked ‘terrified,’ as the waiters and chefs rushed to defend their friend.
One witness told MailOnline: ‘I saw Ozil being chased up my High Street by boys armed with knives.’
CCTV footage captured before the chase began shows burly 6ft Bosnian Kolasinac squaring up to and rushing at a robber whose face is obscured by a crash helmet.
Mesut Ozil (far right), his wife Amine Gulse (far left) with Sead Kolasinac and his bride Bella Kolasinac on their wedding day last month in Baden, Germany
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks as best man to Ozil at his wedding to Amine Gulse by the Bosphorus in Istanbul last month
KOLASINAC: THE TANK WHOSE FAMILY FLED BOSNIAN BLOODBATH
The would-be robbers picked on the wrong man when they took on the man they call The Tank.
Sead Kolasinac, the no-nonsense 6ft Bosnian international, was born in Germany to refugee parents who fled the hardships of the war in their Balkan homeland.
And he revels in his ‘pretty cool’ nicknames, Destroyer as well as The Tank.
His father, Faik, said his son’s physical statue was down to the family’s Bosniak roots. ‘It’s all about genetics,’ he said.
The Kolasinac family settled in Karlsruhe where Faik worked at a local Mercedes-Benz factory to support his wife and children.
‘I have Germany to thank for everything, just like my family,’ Sead said in 2017. ‘At that time it was not easy as a refugee. In my country there was a war, it was not easy to go to Germany and gain a foothold. Germany made that possible.’
Young Sead, seldom seen without a football at his feet, soon attracted attention of German teams but never forgot his roots.
Every week he would return to his mother’s kitchen for burek and traditional tarts. And the whole family make an annual pilgrimage back their former village of Domanovici. According to his father, Kolasinac adores being among his people.
The traditional family life has continued with Sead, who married long-time girlfriend and social media influencer Bella just last month in Baden, Germany.
He met her while he was playing at German side Schalke 04, where the five-years-older Mesut Ozil took him under his wing, the pair bonding over their shared Muslim faith.
The religion played a significant part in Kolasinac’s upbringing, with the youngster often skipping school to go to Islamic classes in the mosque.
And his father proudly said there were times the boy would rather go hungry than eat pork.
The 26-year-old darts toward the front end of the Mercedes to face off an attacker as he makes sure the front passenger door is protected.
The fullback then turns to the rear of the vehicle to steam towards an oncoming assailant who appears to be wielding a blade while wearing a motorbike helmet.
At this point Ozil is able to drive forward in the £100,000 SUV as Kolasinac swings his bare-fists at the thug.
Off camera, Kolasinac was able to rejoin Ozil in the car and they sped away together, pursued by the raiders.
Waiters and chefs from Turkish restaurant Likya rushed to the aid of the football stars when they arrived forcing the riders to flee empty handed.
Neither of the Premier League players from the north London club were harmed during the incident.
Financial worker Azuka Alintah, 36, told the MailOnline: ‘Ozil looked absolutely terrified, as anybody would after being chased by men with knives.
‘He looked like he was running for his life. And I suppose he was.
‘I saw him disappear into the restaurant with the motorcycle guys on his tail.
‘They didn’t take off their helmets and were all in black, wearing long sleeved tops in this hot weather. They stood out.
‘God knows what would have happened if they’d caught him. It looked to me like he’d have been hacked to shreds and he clearly thought so too.
‘As soon as the restaurant staff started to come to the window and to the doorway, they turned around and roared off.’
Kolasinac’s fearless defence of his teammate is unsurprising to many Gunners fans who saw how Ozil took the Bosniak under his wing when he joined the north London club in 2017.
The pair have been friends since their teenage years, when Kolasinac looked up to the five-years-older Ozil when they were both at German side Schalke 04.
They became exceptionally close and last month they were pictured together at Kolasinac’s marriage to Bella, alongside Ozil’s wife Amine Gulse in Baden, Germany.
Indeed, both Bella and Amine wore wedding dresses by the same designer at their recent ceremonies. The Ozils’ wedding in Instanbul took place in the same week as the Kolasinac’s and Turkey’s President Reccep Tayyip Erdogan was Ozil’s best man.
After yesterday’s attack, Ozil’s car, with distinctive gold trim, was left in the middle of the Golders Green Road with the driver’s door open.
After police arrived they blocked off the road as other units looked for the motorcycle raiders.
Mesut Ozil and his wife Amine in a recent social media posting. The football star was unharmed in the attack
The fearless 6ft fullback can be seen bravely lunging at the assailant bare-fisted as Mesut Ozil puts his foot on the gas
Kolasinac can be seen taking on one of the attackers who wears a helmet and appears to be wielding a weapon
Fellow Gunners star Sead Kolasinac was seen warding off the attackers with his bare hands after leaping from the luxurious Mercedes
A motorbike can be seen in the foreground after the attackers boxed in the SUV – Kolasinac (wearing a baseball cap) wastes no time in getting out to protect his teammate
Mesut Oszil (dyed blonde hair) can be seen talking to officers after the attack outside a Turkish restaurant he dived into to escape
Ozil abandoned his car in the middle of the road and fled on foot, ducking into the Turkish restaurant Likya
OZIL: THE £43M MAN WHO HAD PRESIDENT AS HIS BEST MAN
The 30-year-old Arsenal midfielder signed for the north London side in 2013 for an undisclosed fee of around £43million from Real Madrid.
The German footballer, whose family is Turkish, whipped up a political storm when he was pictured alongside Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last May.
Criticism intensified after the defending champions Germany crashed out in the first round of the World Cup in Russia.
In the wake of the World Cup fiasco, Ozil announced his resignation from the national squad, saying: ‘I am German when we win, an immigrant when we lose’.
Erdogan was Ozil’s best man last month when he was married in Istanbul to former Miss Turkey Amine Gulse in June.
He rose to prominence after stunning appearances in the U21 European Championships in 2009, netting a brace against England in Germany’s 4-0 victory in the final.
He transferred from Werder Bremen to Real Madrid in 2010 after a stellar performance in the senior World Cup of that year.
He has impressed the Emirates crowds with his immaculate touches and ability to place balls on a ten pence piece.
The brazen attack took place near to the busy Golders Green Road and tube station in north London.
Ozil and Kolasinac had only returned to London the day before after a successful pre-season tour in America.
The pair gave statements to police before being allowed to leave.
An Arsenal spokesman confirmed the players were involved in the failed carjacking, saying: ‘We have been in contact with both players and they are fine.’
The footballers were in action just the day before as the Premier League side played Real Madrid in 2-2 draw in Washington DC before a late night transatlantic flight.
Renowned Arsenal fan Piers Morgan tweeted: ‘Incredible guts from Sead Kolasinac – looks like he took on the whole moped/knife gang.’
The attack in Golders Green took place close to where comedian Michael McIntyre was forced to hand over his expensive watch after being set upon by an armed moped gang.
Mr MacIntyre had been parked outside his children’s school in Golders Green when the brazen thugs smashed up his car and ripped the £15,000 timepiece from him.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said on Thursday: ‘Police were called to NW3, shortly before 5pm on Thursday, 25 July to reports of an attempted robbery.
Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac in a warm up session in Los Angeles earlier this month as part of their pre-season – they had only just returned from the States the night before the attack
‘It was reported that suspects on motorbikes had attempted to rob a man who was driving a car.
‘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.’
Did YOU witness the drama? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 3615 1824
HOW ROBBERS HAVE TARGETED VIPs IN LAWLESS LONDON
Ozil and Kolasinac are the latest high profile figures to be targeted by armed bikers in London.
In 2016, then West Ham forward Andy Carroll was chased by two motorcyclists, one pointing a gun at him, as he drove his Jeep Wrangler to the training ground.
They were after Carroll’s £22,000 watch but the terrified striker was able to make it to the West Ham car park as he spoke to police on the phone.
Last month Strictly star Pasha Kovalev was robbed by moped thieves while standing outside a theatre. The robbers reportedly rode on to the pavement and snatched his phone.
Pasha, 39, was unhurt but upset he lost the mobile, which had pics of his pregnant girlfriend, Countdown host Rachel Riley, 33.
Comedian Michael McIntyre was robbed by two hammer-wielding men on a moped outside his children’s school in Golders Green last year.
The men smashed his car windows with a hammer and snatched his watch before fleeing.
Former Chancellor George Osborne was targeted by a moped gang that robbed 103 phones in an 18-day reign of terror.
Politician-turned Evening Standard editor Mr Osborne said the raiders made a grab at his mobile as he left BBC headquarters in Portland Place, in May 2017.
Armed with a hammer and tyre-iron, the trio singled out pedestrians texting or making calls before mounting the pavement and snatching the handsets in central London.
A photographer managed to get detailed pictures of them during one of their raids outside the BBC headquarters.
Made in Chelsea’s Spencer Matthews was forced to hide in the vault of a London jewellery store during a smash-and-grab gang raid in May.
The thieves on mopeds smashed their way into The Hour House just minutes after the reality star went into buy a watch.
The only watch not taken in the raid was the one he had gone in to buy, he revealed on Instagram.
Simon Jordan, who used to own Crystal Palace saw his £127,000 watch taken at gunpoint as he sat in his Masarati in March 2016.
Formula One tycoon Bernie Ecclestone, now 88, was seriously injured after he was mugged of jewellery worth £200,000 in November 2010.
He needed hospital treatment after he was punched and kicked to the ground by the robbers, who had waited outside his Knightsbridge home in west London.
Moped muggers tried to steal the watch off the wrist of TV comedian Keith Lemon. The Celebrity Juice host, real name Leigh Francis, at first didn’t realise he was the victim of an attempted mugging.
The thieves made off without the watch, which was just a gold Casio costing around £40.
I’m A Celebrity winner Christopher Biggins had his phone snatched by a hooded cyclist as he waited for a taxi after leaving a posh restaurant in Covent Garden in April.
Susanna Reid revealed last year how she was mugged on the streets of London but chased after her attacker in a ‘dangerous’ bid to reclaim her possessions. She told her GMB co-host Piers Morgan the incident was ‘a long time ago’.
Model Carly Zucker, who is married to ex-England footballer Joe Cole, was carjacked by eight thugs on motorbikes outside their home in the Chelsea area of London in 2010. She was hauled from her Audi A4 before the thugs sped off in the vehicle.