Piers Morgan slams footballer's 'disgraceful' act amid virus crisis

Piers Morgan is pictured in a 50/50 split image next to Arsenal footballer Mesut Ozil.

Breakfast television host and commentator Piers Morgan has taken aim at Arsenal star Mesut Ozil, after the 31-year reportedly knocked back a request from his club to take a paycut.

Footballers’ salaries have been under the spotlight since the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) abruptly saw sports leagues across the world, including the Premier League, put on hiatus for the foreseeable future.

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Many clubs have been forced to stand down or furlough staff in a bid to survive the resulting economic downturn, while many players have accepted cuts to their salary.

Ozil, who earns £350,000 a (roughly $680,000 million AUD) each week, is believed to be one of three Arsenal players to have turned down a 12.5 per cent pay cut.

Morgan wasted no time in slamming the German midfielder, first on Twitter, then on breakfast show Good Morning Britain.

“Disgraceful, but no surprise - Ozil's been getting £350k-a-week for doing nothing since 2017,” Morgan tweeted in reply to reports of the pay cut offer being knocked back.

That was merely the opening salvo, as Morgan launched into a second tirade on GMB.

“Shame on you Mesut Ozil. Shame on you,” Morgan said.

“Some of the younger players, who are on far less money than you, are taking a 12.5 per cent pay cut, a minuscule drop in the ocean for you, and you don’t want to do it because you want to see how the financial situation plays out while you are sitting on your backside on your Playstation every night rather than actually playing football. Really?

“I’ve reserved my condemnations for football clubs who have been furloughing, using taxpayers' money when they have plenty themselves. Liverpool, Tottenham, Newcastle… all got shamed into doing U-turns on this kind of thing.

“The players I thought were getting a bad rap - but this is why some of them deserve a bad rap.

"People like Mesut Ozil who have just said ‘Sorry, no. I may be one of the highest-paid players at Arsenal, one of the highest-paid in the world, I might be worth gazillions and sitting on my backside at the moment doing nothing, but no I’m not going to take a pay cut.’”

Mixed response to Piers Morgan’s Mesut Ozil tirade

Not everybody was in agreement about Ozil’s desire to retain his salary, with many fans pointing to the Arsenal star’s charity work as a reason why he shouldn’t be forced into a decision.

Ozil’s agent, Dr Erkut Sogut, has publicly said salary deferral would be a preferable option to taking a wage cut.

“Deferral is an option but not to agree a cut today when the clubs may still make the same profit as last year.

“What the exact financial impact is on the clubs, we can see three to six months later - but we can’t see it today.”