1. ITV Report

Arsenal and Germany star Mesut Ozil donates World Cup bonus to sick children in Brazil

Arsenal and Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil has paid for the surgeries of 23 sick children in Brazil as a "thank you" for the country's hospitality during the World Cup.

Mesut Ozil and children pose for a BigShoe photo shoot. Credit: Mesut Ozil / Facebook

There were reports yesterday that the star - who is of Turkish descent and is a practicing Muslim - had donated his World Cup winnings to projects in Gaza.

However, his spokesman told the Associated Press that was not true and Ozil had in fact given money to projects in Brazil.

Ozil and Lukas Podolski have both won the FA Cup and World Cup in the last few months. Credit: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Before the World Cup, the German squad were reportedly promised a bonus of £240,000 each if they won the tournament.

Ozil reportedly donated his entire bonus to projects in Brazil.

Ozil after scoring Germany's second goal against Algeria. Credit: REUTERS/Darren Staples

Writing on his official Facebook page, the Premier League star said he had initially funded the surgery of 11 sick children in Brazil but increased it to 23 - one for each member of the winning World Cup squad.

He also recorded a film where he set out his intention to donate to the BigShoe charity in Brazil.

Prior to the World Cup, I supported the surgery of eleven sick children. Since the victory of the World Cup 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.

– Mesut Ozil
Germany's Mario Gotze celebrates scoring the winning goal. Credit: VI Images

Germany won football's elite competition thanks to an extra-time goal from Bayern Munich midfielder Mario Gotze, giving them a 1-0 win over Argentina.