A year ago, he was one of the Premier League’s highest-paid players. Now, after angering China and refusing a pay cut, he has simply vanished.
His avatar was removed from video games. Searching the internet for his name in China brought up error messages. (It was reported his Weibo account was disabled, though that was not true.) Very deliberately, though, and seemingly at the behest of an authoritarian government, Mesut Özil was being erased.