Mesut Ozil joined Arsenal in 2013, and has played under both Arsene Wenger and Unai Emery. The retired German footballer has been accused of downing tools since he signed his mega-deal, he has also been accused of failing to turn up in big games, and having a bad body language.
The midfielder in a recent interview addressed these accusations and comments from different channels.
Ozil on slacking/downing tools after signing his new contract:
“If that was true, why did I work so hard and positively during pre-season this year? And why, after the World Cup last year, did I return from holiday early for the first time in my career to start training early? I did it for the new coach, the team and the club. Maybe people don’t like that I have a good contract? I don’t know or care.”
“It always happens that an ex-player on TV criticises me-Others continue the theme & it gets in people’s heads-If we don’t do well in a ‘big’ game, it’s always my fault. If it’s true, how do we explain our results in the big games I wasn’t involved in? There’s no real difference.
“I know people expect me to offer more, dictate play and make the difference — I do, too — but it’s not that straightforward. I’m not the only player in the team and, don’t forget, some of our opponents are simply better than us.”
“Also, what is a ‘big’ or ‘small’ game? In the Premier League, anyone can beat anyone. Look at Wolves and Norwich beating Man City, or Newcastle and West Ham beating Man United.”
“So you can’t say my good performances only came in ‘small’ games because these games don’t really exist. The intensity is there in every match and often the ‘small’ teams raise their standard against the ‘big’ teams.”
“I get very frustrated when I miss a game through illness & people question if it is genuine. Yes, it happened a few times — usually in the winter — but what am I supposed to do? If you knew me, you’d know it takes a lot for me to miss a game & I have never used it as an excuse.”
“[It’s] actually the opposite. I played many games when I was ill or injured. Before the Champions League game against Bayern [March 2017], I was sick & Arsene told me I was not in the squad. The next morning, the guys from Arsenal called me and said, ‘Listen, you have to come to the stadium, you have to be in the squad’. Despite my illness, I joined the squad and played”
The midfielder addressed comments on his body language. “It’s my personality, I was always like this. If a game isn’t going well or I play a bad ball, I get frustrated because I know it can be better. It’s the same when I come off the pitch looking angry. I’m a perfectionist, at times I want too much perfection.
“It doesn’t take long to get over — I’m not going around the pitch or sat on the bench pissed off for the next five minutes. It’s just in that moment and then we continue. I realise it’s not good to show this, but it’s instinctive, so I don’t plan it and it’s not easy to change.
“This is me. I’m the same person at Arsenal as I was at Schalke, Werder Bremen, Real Madrid and the German national team. People may want me to change but I’ve been successful everywhere and I never will.”