Playing for pride of country, showcasing your skills to the club soccer world and being named the best in the world are all things soccer players go in to the World Cup with on their mind. For Germany’s Mesut Özil, that wasn’t the only thing.
Instead, it was about making sure some sick children also got taken care of. Most don’t realize that players are also paid to play in the World Cup and winning it gives a member of the 23-man roster a pretty good payday.
Instead of hoarding the winnings for himself, Özil is taking his winnings and funding 23 surgeries (one for every player on the 23-man roster) for sick kids, per The Sporting News. The Daily Mail in the UK is reporting that the German national team members earned over $400,000 for their efforts in Brazil this year.
He had already committed to paying for 11 of those surgeries before the World Cup began, but after the journey he was moved to do even more.
According to the Sporting News report, Özil gave the following message on his Facebook page:
“Dear fans, Prior to the #WorldCup I supported the surgery of eleven sick children. Since the victory of the #WorldCup is not only due to eleven players but to our whole team, I will now raise the number to 23. This is my personal thank-you for the hospitality of the people of Brazil. #Bigshoe #Brasil2014.”
For 23 kids who can’t afford, but need surgery in Brazil, the World Cup win for Germany was a win for them too.