After helping Germany lift the World Cup, midfielder Mesut Ozil has captured the hearts of Brazilian youngsters, after revealing he has donated around £350,000 of his personal winnings to 23 children's surgeries in the South American country.
The Arsenal playmaker, 25, confirmed the news on his Facebook page, and wrote: “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?."
His donation sparked confusion on social media sites, with many claiming that his earnings were to be sent to the children of Gaza.
The rumours, which started to circulate on Twitter on July 11, led to his representative, Roland Eitel, to deny them.
“The claim that Mesut donated money to Gaza is not true,” he said. “Maybe in the future, who knows? He donated money to causes in Brazil and he is now on holiday.”
Last month, after reaching the second round of the tournament in Brazil, Algeria donated their £5.25m prize money to the people of Gaza.