Özbiliz with Armenia in 2013
|Date of birth||9 March 1990|
|Place of birth||Bakırköy, Turkey|
|Height||1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|2016||→ Rayo Vallecano (loan)||3||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 21 August 2016.
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 18:01, 11 October 2015 (UTC)
Aras was born on 9 March 1990 in the Bakırköy district of Istanbul, Turkey to Armenian parents. He was named after the Aras River, a body of water in Armenia. His ancestors adopted the surname "Özbiliz", literally meaning "one, who preserves his identity." In the early 1990s, his family emigrated from Turkey to the Netherlands. Five years later, he started playing football for the youth team of HVV Hollandia. When he was eight years old, Aras joined the youth team of Ajax. While playing for the youth team, Ozbiliz received two serious injuries, first tearing a cruciate knee ligament, after which he needed an operation, and then a shoulder injury.
Aras Ozbiliz is a product of the Ajax youth academy. Prior to moving to Ajax as a youth, he played for HVV Hollandia in his home town of Hoorn where he grew up. At the age of 8, he participated in tryouts for the Amsterdam side, and was chosen to play for Ajax, having represented Ajax on every stage of the youth academy, before making his debut for the A selection in 2010 under then coach Martin Jol. On 24 July 2007, in a friendly match against Argentinean club Independiente, Aras managed to score three goals within 7 minutes, which turned out to be a personal record.
In February 2009, the "Ajax" Ozbilizom concluded with a contract for two and a half years. In the same year, on 9 June 2009, the attacking midfielder was named Talent van de Toekomst, which is an award signifying the most talented young player in the team to emerge from De Toekomst (Ajax training ground). The excellent performance of Aras in the junior team had him included in the first team for the upcoming 2010-11season.
In November 2010, Aras twice found himself in an application for a match, first in the championship game against PSV Eindhoven, and then in the UEFA Champions League match against the Real Madrid, but he did not come out on the field. The anticipated player's Eredivisie debut took place on 28 November 2010 in a game against the guest VVV-Venlo. On the field, the 20-year-old appeared immediately after the break, replacing the Finnish midfielder Teemu Tainio. Ozbiliz seriously enhanced the game on the left side of midfield, adding to the first in the rate of. Ajax won with a score of 0:2, and Aras was praised by Martin Jol. Already in the next league match, on 4 December, Ozbiliz left in the starting lineup.
A few days before the UEFA Champions League match with the Italian club A.C. Milan, Aras had a flu, and so he could not make his debut in the main European Cup tournament. By this time, the new acting head coach Frank de Boer was appointed, as Martin Jol resigned before the match with Milan. Ozbiliza returned to the field for the next game of Ajax, which took place on 12 December against the Vitesse Arnhem. It is noteworthy that Aras was out on the field instead of the debutant teammate Lorenzo Ebecilio. On 22 December, Frank de Boer announced a list of players registered for the upcoming KNVB Cup match with AZ. Among the 18 players, Aras was named, but in the starting lineup for the game, he appeared only at the end of the match on the 89th minute after the winning goal by Miralem Sulejmani.
In January 2011, Aras and the team set off for Turkey, where they played two friendly matches – against the German club Hamburger SV and the Turkish club Galatasaray. In both matches, Ozbiliz went in on a second-half substitute.
Aras scored his first league goal on 3 April 2011 in the '80-minute in a 3–0 home win against Heracles Almelo. On 14 April, Aras extended his contract for three more seasons to expire in the summer until 30 June 2014. On 24 February 2012, in a Europa League match against Manchester United, Aras became the first Ajax player to ever score a goal against Manchester United in a European cup match at Old Trafford.
On 4 May 2012 press-service of Kuban Krasnodar announced that they were in talks to acquire Özbiliz. However, only on 8 August this transfer was officially announced. Aras was transferred for a sum of €1 million. The contract was signed for 4 years until 2016.
Aras debuted for Kuban on 20 August 2012 in a match against Alania Vladikavkaz. Aras left in the field for 81 minutes instead of David Tsorayev. On 2 September 2012, he scored his first goal for the Kuban in the 93rd minute in an away game against Dynamo Moscow. In September 2012, in the Russian Premier League, he was scoring twice more in home games: at the 15th of the goal of Spartak Moscow at 63 minutes (final score 2–2) and 29th in the goal of Terek Grozny in 83 minutes, scoring a long-range shot winning the second goal and helping Kuban to a 2–1 victory. On 31 March 2013, Aras scored a swerving, dipping goal from 35 yards away in a match against Spartak Moscow that ended 2–2.
On Friday, 26 July 2013 it was announced that Özbiliz had signed a 5-year contract with Spartak Moscow, with Kuban Krasnodar earning €10 million on the transfer fee. 29 August Araz scored his first goal for the club. In May 2014 Özbiliz suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury, which caused him to have two surgeries. In April 2015 Murat Yakin, then head coach of Spartak, transferred Aras to the reserve team for not being fully fit from the injury, although the player claimed to be 100% fit to play. Later Özbiliz suggested this treatment may be a case of anti-Armenian sentiment by Yakin, ethnic Turk. According to Aras, he's learned of being relegated to the reserve team on the centenary of the Armenian Genocide.
In mid-May 2010, Aras Özbiliz was invited by the Football Federation of Armenia to take part in the formation of the youth national team of Armenia. In the words of Aras, he's never been to Armenia, but he hopes to gain a spot in the youth team. In the Armenian capital Yerevan, Aras arrived on the evening of 30 May. He immediately started working in Pyunik Yerevan, allowing the head coach of the team Vardan Minasyan to get closely acquainted with him. In training, Özbiliz was also presented with the coach of the Armenian national team, Dane Flemming Serritslev. He noted that the Aras made a good impression, but as of now he cannot play for the national team because he has a problem with his documents.
In early February 2011, the Armenian head coach Minasyan said Özbiliz was going to choose between the teams of Armenia and the Netherlands. To persuade the player to play for Armenia, Vice-President of the Football Federation of Armenia Ashot Manukyan went to the Netherlands to negotiate with Aras. Manukyan, in turn, said that Ozbiliz was in no hurry with his choice of the national team and wanted to gain a foothold in Ajax and then make a final decision, and he was likely to help the Armenian team in the UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying match against Russia. The Vice-President of the Football Federation of Armenia stressed that the question of citizenship in Armenia for Ozbiliz was no problem and to be resolved by the president of the country's approval.
In late March 2011, the footballer reportedly expressed a desire to play for the Netherlands, as Özbiliz apparently stated he has a chance to progress with the Netherlands and so he chose them. However, these rumors were proven false in early June, when Aras decided to play for Armenia. Aras was quoted as saying, "Netherlands might be a good choice in sporting terms but my heart beats for Armenia. That's why I made this choice." He asked not to be brought for the match with Russia due to the fact that he had little training. In August, Özbiliz was called for a friendly match with Lithuania, which was scheduled for 10 August in Kaunas, but although he was in the starting lineup, he did not get even come off the bench before the match and his participation was in doubt, as the 21-year-old player felt pain in his back. The game ended with the defeat of the Armenian national team 3–0.
In early October 2011, Aras was called to play the match against Armenia and Macedonia, which was held on 7 October. On 4 October 2011, on order of the President Serzh Sargsyan, Aras Ozbilis received Armenian citizenship and became a player of the Armenia national football team. Özbiliz was given from the President of the Football Federation of Armenia Ruben Hayrapetyan an Armenia team T-shirt with the number 23.
On 29 February 2012, Aras debuted for the national team of Armenia during a friendly match with Canada and scored a goal in that same match.
- As of 9 August 2016.
|2012–13||Kuban Krasnodar||Russian Premier League||22||9||2||0||—||—||24||9|
|2015-16||Rayo Vallecano||La Liga||3||0||0||0||—||—||3||0|
1Other tournaments include Johan Cruijff Shield.
Aras was raised in Hoorn, Netherlands and holds both Dutch and Armenian citizenship. He received his Armenian passport on 4 October 2011, as he wanted to represent the Armenian national team, making his debut for Armenia on 29 February 2012 during a friendly match with Canada and scored a goal in that same match.
- Scores and results list Armenia's goal tally first.
|1.||29 February 2012||Tsirion Stadium, Limassol, Cyprus||Canada||3–1||3–1||Friendly|
|2.||14 November 2012||Republican Stadium, Yerevan, Armenia||Lithuania||4–1||4–2||Friendly|
|3.||11 June 2013||Parken Stadium, Copenhagen, Denmark||Denmark||2–0||4–0||2014 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|4.||11 October 2013||Republican Stadium, Yerevan, Armenia||Bulgaria||1–0||2–1||2014 FIFA World Cup qualification|
- AFC Ajax Talent of the Future (1): 2009
- Amsterdam FC Ajax football player received Armenian citizenship and became member of Armenian national football team
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