FORMER Real Madrid player Mesut Özil may be wishing he was still living in Spain after he and fellow Arsenal player Sead Kolasinac were targeted by knife-wielding thugs in London.
While Özil took refuge in his SUV in the face of the attempted assault, Kolasinac–nicknamed The Tank- confronted the robbers, swinging his fists at them, before joining his teammate in the Mercedes G-Class 4X4 at 5pm yesterday (July 25).
The players sped off only for their assailants to follow on motorbikes in what must have been a terrifying ordeal.
Eventually the Arsenal stars abandoned their car about a mile away and took refuge in a Turkish restaurant.
The incident shows the increased boldness of thieves in the streets of London and other parts of Britain.
A few weeks ago, comedian Michael McIntyre was robbed in London’s Golders Green at a spot near to this incident.
He too was set upon by a moped gang who smashed his car up with hammers outside his children’s school then forced him to hand over a £15,000 watch.
As far as Özil is concerned, professionally he may be happier in London, but when it comes to personal safety he might have felt better off in Spain.
The country comes 201st on a list of nations by homicide rate compared to the UK’s 185. Such figures are blunt, but there is no doubt a perception by many people that Spain is a far safer country on which to walk the streets than the UK, particularly in the major cities.
Website Numbeo collates real time data from contributors on people’s perceptions of crime.
When it comes to a comparison of London to Madrid, it is clear people feel safer in the Spanish capital.
It’s Crime Index measured London’s at 52.09 compared to 30.57 for Madrid, while London was classified as high risk for break-ins and thefts compared to Madrid’s low risk status.
Many expats in Spain have said in previous studies that a major reason for moving to the country was to find a more secure place to live.