This is the extraordinary moment Arsenal star Sead Kolasinac fearlessly fought off two ‘ninja’ carjackers threatening to stab him and his best friend Mesut Ozil for their £200,000 watches.
The Bosnian defender, 26, chased moped gangsters Jordan Northover, 26, and Ashley Smith, 30, around a £165,000 Mercedes G-wagon containing Ozil and his wife Amine in Hampstead, north London, on July 25.
In new CCTV released by Scotland Yard today Northover can be seen pulling the knife on Kolasinac and using it to jab at his face and neck – but the hardman didn’t flinch as he squared up to the robbers and tried to knock them out.
As the robbers panicked, Mr Ozil screamed to his teammate to ‘jump in’, sparking a mile-long high-speed chase through north London before the 4×4 was abandoned outside a Golders Green Turkish restaurant where the footballers and Mrs Ozil ran inside and called the police.
After the moped gang was convicted today Chief Inspector Jim Corbett praised Kolasinac’s bravery and said: ‘Northover didn’t hesitate to draw a weapon when making demands, but he didn’t bargain on being challenged and the pair went away empty-handed’.
Moped gangsters Jordan Northover, 26, and Ashley Smith, 30, (left to right) and have pleaded guilty to trying to steal from Sead Kolasinac and Mesut Ozil at knifepoint
Sead Kolasinac (muzzed by police) turns to face the moped gang trying to rob him and Mesut Ozil for their £200,000 watches and didn’t flinch as he tried to beat them up despite the knife
The masked men appeared ready to stab the Arsenal star but police today praised the footballer and said the robbers ‘didn’t bargain for him fighting back’
Sead Kolasinac can be seen taking on one of the attackers who wears a helmet and was armed with a knife as he tried to rob him and Ozil – but left empty handed
Mesut Ozil (dyed blonde hair) was pictured talking to officers outside Turkish restaurant Likya on Golders Green Road in north London after the attack this summer
Mesut Ozil (far right), his wife Amine Gulse (far left) with Sead Kolasinac and his bride Bella Kolasinac on their wedding day in June in Baden, Germany
Northover, 26, today pleaded guilty at Harrow Crown Court to attempting to rob the Premier League stars, who were not in court.
Smith, 30, who has already admitted being in charge of the moped during the attempted robbery, appeared via video link with a towel wrapped around his head after almost losing an eye after being beaten up in prison last night.
How the moped gang took on the wrong man: Arsenal’s Bosnian ‘Tank’ came out fighting
Best friends Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac in a warm up
The would-be robbers picked on the wrong man when they took on the man they call The Tank.
Sead Kolasinac, the no-nonsense 6ft Bosnian international, was born in Germany to refugee parents who fled the hardships of the war in their Balkan homeland.
And he revels in his ‘pretty cool’ nicknames, Destroyer as well as The Tank.
His father, Faik, said his son’s physical statue was down to the family’s Bosniak roots. ‘It’s all about genetics,’ he said.
The Kolasinac family settled in Karlsruhe where Faik worked at a local Mercedes-Benz factory to support his wife and children.
‘I have Germany to thank for everything, just like my family,’ Sead said in 2017. ‘At that time it was not easy as a refugee. In my country there was a war, it was not easy to go to Germany and gain a foothold. Germany made that possible.’
Young Sead, seldom seen without a football at his feet, soon attracted attention of German teams but never forgot his roots.
Every week he would return to his mother’s kitchen for burek and traditional tarts. And the whole family make an annual pilgrimage back their former village of Domanovici. According to his father, Kolasinac adores being among his people.
The traditional family life has continued with Sead, who married long-time girlfriend and social media influencer Bella just last month in Baden, Germany.
He met her while he was playing at German side Schalke 04, where the five-years-older Mesut Ozil took him under his wing, the pair bonding over their shared Muslim faith.
The religion played a significant part in Kolasinac’s upbringing, with the youngster often skipping school to go to Islamic classes in the mosque.
He told the judge today he ‘fears for his life’ and was ‘scared’ following an attack in Pentonville prison, where he is being held temporarily.
When asked to confirm his name, Smith said repeatedly: “Hello – why am I not getting sentenced?’, before being told it would happen on Friday. His friend Northover will be sentenced on a later date.
Northover and Smith attempted this brazen robbery after travelling around streets in Hampstead, looking for people to rob.
They happened upon Mesut Ozil and his wife Amine, who had driven to see Sead Kolasinac, a fellow Arsenal player and childhood friend in Germany.
Mr Kolasinac was leaning into £350,000-a-week Germany midfielder Ozil’s rare black Mercedes G class jeep.
His German-born Bosnian teammate, nicknamed ‘The Tank’, turned and then jumped at them and tried to punch the robbers, who wore helmets.
The best friends then drove for a mile while being chased before taking refuge in a Turkish restaurant after abandoning Ozil’s £165,000 4×4 in the middle of the road.
His fearless defence of his teammate is unsurprising because the pair have been friends since their teenage years, when Kolasinac looked up to the five-years-older Ozil when they were both at German side Schalke 04.
They became exceptionally close and last month they were pictured together at Kolasinac’s marriage to Bella, alongside Ozil’s wife Amine Gulse in Baden, Germany.
Indeed, both Bella and Amine wore wedding dresses by the same designer at their recent ceremonies.
The Ozils’ wedding in Instanbul took place in the same week and Turkey’s President Reccep Tayyip Erdogan was Ozil’s best man.
After the attack, Ozil’s rare luxury car, with distinctive gold trim, was left in the middle of the Golders Green Road with the driver’s door open as detectives investigated.
After police arrived they blocked off the road as other units looked for the motorcycle raiders.
The brazen attack took place near to the busy Golders Green Road and tube station in north London.
Ozil and Kolasinac had only returned to London the day before after a successful pre-season tour in America when they were robbed.
Last month Mr Ozil, who was not in court today, described what happened.
He said he and his wife had driven to Kolasinac’s house in north London when two men approached menacingly.
He told The Athletic: ‘We noticed that they had a weapon and something was going wrong. They obviously saw the big car and because Sead had just handed me something, they must have noticed he was wearing an expensive watch.’
‘They told him directly, “Give us your watch!”. Sead’s reaction was really, really brave because he attacked one of the attackers. The second one was in front of my car on his moped so I couldn’t drive.’
Fellow Gunners star Sead Kolasinac was seen warding off the attackers with his bare hands after leaping from the luxurious Mercedes
Kolasinac can be seen darting from the front end of the car to the rear as he faces off the assailants while protecting the passenger side door of the SUV
Mesut Oszil (dyed blonde hair with his wife Amine next to him) can be seen talking to officers outside a Turkish restaurant they dived into to escape
OZIL: THE £43M MAN WHO HAD PRESIDENT AS HIS BEST MAN
Mesut Ozil and his wife Amine in a recent social media posting. The football star was unharmed in the attack
The 30-year-old Arsenal midfielder signed for the north London side in 2013 for an undisclosed fee of around £43million from Real Madrid.
The German footballer, whose family is Turkish, whipped up a political storm when he was pictured alongside Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last May.
Criticism intensified after the defending champions Germany crashed out in the first round of the World Cup in Russia.
In the wake of the World Cup fiasco, Ozil announced his resignation from the national squad, saying: ‘I am German when we win, an immigrant when we lose’.
Erdogan was Ozil’s best man last month when he was married in Istanbul to former Miss Turkey Amine Gulse in June.
He rose to prominence after stunning appearances in the U21 European Championships in 2009, netting a brace against England in Germany’s 4-0 victory in the final.
He transferred from Werder Bremen to Real Madrid in 2010 after a stellar performance in the senior World Cup of that year.
Ozil admitted he was scared for his wife’s safety and that of his team mate.
He said his car was blocked by a moped so he tried to edge it out of the way by driving forward and backwards. He then shouted at Kolasinac to jump into the car.
The World Cup winner said the attackers gave chase and he was forced to try and block them with his car.
Eventually they sought refuge in a Turkish restaurant and awaited the arrival of the police.
However, the incident had scared his wife who was fearful for their safety.
The police arrested the suspected attackers within a couple of hours of the incident after their moped was spotted without numberplates.
Northover’s co-accused Smith from Archway in North London, admitted to his role in the attack on Ozil and Kolasinac at Snaresbrook Crown Court last month.
Smith appeared via video link from HMP Pentonville at Harrow Crown Court, with his head wrapped in a towel.
Susan Meek, defending, said that Smith was wearing the towel because he had been attacked in prison the previous night and might be left blinded.
Explaining that Smith was eager to be sentenced as quickly as possible, she said: “As you can see he has a towel around his head because he was attacked last night.
“He has stitches in his right eye, and he may lose the sight in his left eye.
“It was made clear to him that his life was in danger.
“He is extraordinarily distressed and scared and really wants this to be put to an end as soon as possible.”
Asked to confirm his name, Smith said: “Hello – why am I not getting sentenced?”
He will be sentenced at Harrow Crown Court on Friday.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks as best man to Ozil at his wedding to Amine Gulse by the Bosphorus in Istanbul last month
HOW ROBBERS HAVE TARGETED VIPs IN LAWLESS LONDON
Ozil and Kolasinac are the latest high profile figures to be targeted by armed bikers in London.
In 2016, then West Ham forward Andy Carroll was chased by two motorcyclists, one pointing a gun at him, as he drove his Jeep Wrangler to the training ground.
They were after Carroll’s £22,000 watch but the terrified striker was able to make it to the West Ham car park as he spoke to police on the phone.
Last month Strictly star Pasha Kovalev was robbed by moped thieves while standing outside a theatre. The robbers reportedly rode on to the pavement and snatched his phone.
Pasha, 39, was unhurt but upset he lost the mobile, which had pics of his pregnant girlfriend, Countdown host Rachel Riley, 33.
Comedian Michael McIntyre was robbed by two hammer-wielding men on a moped outside his children’s school in Golders Green last year.
The men smashed his car windows with a hammer and snatched his watch before fleeing.
Former Chancellor George Osborne was targeted by a moped gang that robbed 103 phones in an 18-day reign of terror.
Politician-turned Evening Standard editor Mr Osborne said the raiders made a grab at his mobile as he left BBC headquarters in Portland Place, in May 2017.
Armed with a hammer and tyre-iron, the trio singled out pedestrians texting or making calls before mounting the pavement and snatching the handsets in central London.
A photographer managed to get detailed pictures of them during one of their raids outside the BBC headquarters.
Made in Chelsea’s Spencer Matthews was forced to hide in the vault of a London jewellery store during a smash-and-grab gang raid in May.
The thieves on mopeds smashed their way into The Hour House just minutes after the reality star went into buy a watch.
The only watch not taken in the raid was the one he had gone in to buy, he revealed on Instagram.
Simon Jordan, who used to own Crystal Palace saw his £127,000 watch taken at gunpoint as he sat in his Masarati in March 2016.
Formula One tycoon Bernie Ecclestone, now 88, was seriously injured after he was mugged of jewellery worth £200,000 in November 2010.
He needed hospital treatment after he was punched and kicked to the ground by the robbers, who had waited outside his Knightsbridge home in west London.
Moped muggers tried to steal the watch off the wrist of TV comedian Keith Lemon. The Celebrity Juice host, real name Leigh Francis, at first didn’t realise he was the victim of an attempted mugging.
The thieves made off without the watch, which was just a gold Casio costing around £40.
I’m A Celebrity winner Christopher Biggins had his phone snatched by a hooded cyclist as he waited for a taxi after leaving a posh restaurant in Covent Garden in April.
Susanna Reid revealed last year how she was mugged on the streets of London but chased after her attacker in a ‘dangerous’ bid to reclaim her possessions. She told her GMB co-host Piers Morgan the incident was ‘a long time ago’.
Model Carly Zucker, who is married to ex-England footballer Joe Cole, was carjacked by eight thugs on motorbikes outside their home in the Chelsea area of London in 2010. She was hauled from her Audi A4 before the thugs sped off in the vehicle.