Wenger tips Ozil for future Ballon d’Or challenge


Arsene Wenger doesn’t rate Mesut Ozil’s chances of winning the World Player of the Year when the results are announced in January but believes his new signing can challenge for football’s top honour in the future.

The German midfielder was the only current Arsenal player to make FIFA’s 23-man shortlist, albeit for his exploits in a Real Madrid shirt, but remains a rank outsider for an award which Lionel Messi has won every year since the format was revised in 2010.

With the likes of Ronaldo and Champions League winner Franck Ribery also strong contenders this year Arsene Wenger says it was unlikely his charge will walk away with the Ballon d’Or despite his obvious talent.

“Ozil is not one of the favourites this year, but in the future he can win it,” the boss told press ahead of tonight’s game with Borussia Dortmund.

“[He has brought] technical quality, vision and his absolute desire to play collectively in a very strong way.

“He is a player who has only one master, that is football. He does what the game demands, his ego does not stand in the way of his game, all the great players have that.”

Also speaking in yesterday’s pre-match press conference, Olivier Giroud touched on his development as a player.

Reflecting on his accession to the top of the European game, the French international, who spent the first five years of his career scrapping at the likes of Grenoble, Tours and Istre before moving to Montpellier, said doubts about his ability helped motivate his improvement.

“It was a long time ago – I was really young, [around] 19. I was maybe not mature enough,” Giroud said.

“I grew up step by step and proved that I could score a lots of goals and did well. I improved myself and had the trust and confidence to continue.

“I succeeded in Ligue 1 and won the championship. Everything I did on the pitch is my answer for people who wanted to maybe blame me.

“I tried to do my job on the pitch and score goals. Never mind the people who did not believe in my qualities and my game. I don’t care about it now.”

Given the great Thierry Henry couldn’t persuade the football fraternity that he was good enough to be feted Europe’s best player (Pavel Nedved & Michael Owen…really?), let alone the world’s, it seems somewhat unlikely that any Arsenal player in the near future will secure such personal accolades. It’s not a big deal, the way we play these days we’re much more about the collective rather than individual.

Of course when it comes to handsomeness, well Olivier wins hand down…

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