Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil is grateful for the support that he has received from the fans, after he found himself being feasted on by people from the press during Germany's run to the World Cup.
He was particularly surprised with an edition of Kicker magazine, which was released in March, that had him as a subject, with the front-page reading:
"The Ozil Debate: Is he one for the big games?"
"'The Ozil debate'? It was strange. There I was, so close to the start of a massive tournament, and all their eyes are on me, criticising me," the 25-year-old told The Telegraph.
"It was not just Kicker, but also TV and other publications."
"It surprised me. In my first season at Arsenal there were times when I was not at my best but in the qualifiers for the national team I did perform well."
"Look, I scored the most goals in qualifying [eight]."
Nevertheless, the former Werder Bremen man found allies in supporters who were with him all the way.
"I was voted three times Germany's national player of the year and that is decided by the fans," he added.
"That shows the fans are there for me and believe in me. I want to say how thankful I am that they've supported me in such a fantastic way."
The Gelsenkirchen native revealed that his character was also key in overcoming and coping with the said obstacles.
"The negative headlines were unfair," he disclosed.
"But I'm not the sort of person who lets myself be pressured by the media. "
"I am strong enough and confident enough in myself."
Ozil went on to start all of the seven games in Brazil, while playing the entire 120 minutes against Argentina en route to becoming a world champion.