Mesut Ozil Kicker interview – full transcript

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Mesut Ozil Kicker interview - full transcript

Mesut Ozil’s interview with Kicker, in which he discussed his future and that of Arsene Wenger, made some headlines over the 24 hours.

Thanks to @LGAmbrose, we’ve got a full transcript of it for you. Enjoy.

Mr Özil, for the kicker journalists you embodied world class over the last half year. Over the last few months, what was different to previous years?

Firstly I’m very happy because this ranking shows my aim to constantly improve myself further has also been recognised in public. Many have expected me to finish more often and score more goals. That’s going much better this season than in previous years.

Arsenal coach Arsène Wenger also asked for more goal threat from you before the season. Have you become more selfish on the pitch?

I would never say selfish but my movements are a bit different. I don’t look for the ball as deep, instead I wait further upfield. Then sometimes I have five minutes without a touch but find more chances in front of the opposition goal. The most important thing for me is: I must be free on the pitch. That’s what I need. The coach gives me this freedom and hence it’s going so well.

Was 2016 the best year of your career?

When you look back over all the years, I’ve always performed, also at Werder Bremen and Real Madrid. The statistics prove that, they were always very positive. Other than the fact I score more goals, the only thing that has changed is the expectations for me are raised each year. People always expect good games from me. If I have one bad game after 10 good ones, there’s immediate criticism.

Like after the recent defeats against Everton and Manchester City – for the English media you were the scapegoat.

We didn’t have much more than 20% of the ball and as a team couldn’t perform, so I also couldn’t play my game. I have been in the business for many years. If I believed and accepted everything written about me I would be crazy. But through my experience and self-confidence I can handle my critics. They just make me stronger.

Did you feel your cross for the winning goal against West Brom on Boxing Day was an answer to your critics?

Not just the cross. Over the whole game I performed, had a lot of the ball and helped create a lot of chances. The beautiful thing in our job is you can always prove yourself again.

At the end of the year you aren’t as fit as in the autumn and had to miss games due to infection. Does the season take more of a toll than usual?

Probably no player in the Premier League would claim he has the same liveliness as the beginning of the season. Plus, I played through the Euros, had a short holiday and could hardly prepare for the season. As a player you need a break, not just for your body but also for your mind. In the Premier League you just don’t have that. Between Christmas and New Year it hurts a bit, as colleagues from the Bundesliga and other leagues post photos from their holidays. Julian Draxler sent me a video from some other place every day to annoy me.

Is the title out of sight after those two defeats?

Definitely not, the past has shown that too. A year ago we were top of the league and quite a few people thought we’d be champions. Now Chelsea are in that situation but the season is long. We need (to go on) a run, then quickly you’re at the top again. I am convinced that we can still reach our target. With the new players, for example Granit Xhaka and Shkodran Mustafi, we have more potential. And we have better team spirit.

How is that shown?

In previous years there were always players who were upset because they sat on the bench. Now they come on hungrier. Everyone feels this year we can really achieve something.

Is securing fourth for a Champions League place the minimum target?

When you look down, that’s where you’ll land! If you’re worried you play worriedly, not with freedom. Then you fall, maybe not just out of the Champions League places, but completely out of Europe. When you really want to reach your target, you must look ahead.

In the Champions League last 16, Arsenal have been drawn against Bayern Munich for the third time. Is elimination inevitable?

In football you never know. To win the trophy, you have to face the biggest clubs in the world and prove yourself. It is great that we have that chance again. Bayern are one of the favourites, in recent years they have played outstanding football. This season, they have become more vulnerable. They are not unbeatable – especially this year.

Your contract at Arsenal ends in 2018, for over a year there has been a “tug of war” over an extension. Why haven’t you and the club found an agreement?

This is the first time that I am concretely talking about it. I am very, very happy that I play for Arsenal and I feel very, very well. I have shown the club my willingness to extend (my contract). The fans want me to stay. Now it is all up to the club.

Is it about money?

Many have said that’s the reason. To be completely honest: in my career, it’s never been about money. It is about fun, about trust. The club knows that I am here because of Arsène Wenger above all else, he brought me here and I relish his faith. The club also knows, that I want to know what the manager is going to do…

His contract expires in the summer?

Exactly.

Arsenal legend Thierry Henry was recently upset as he accused you and Alexis Sánchez of scolding the club in contract talks with your wage demands.

Everyone has a right to express their opinion but this statement doesn’t interest me, it also doesn’t affect me. Ex-players or other people that give their view don’t know what is actually said between me and the club. For me it is about trust and being valued, not about money.

In the national team you inherited the number 10 shirt after Lukas Podolski’s retirement. Why do you still wear 11 at Arsenal?

I would like to wear the 10, I’ve always wanted that, the club knew that from the beginning. Jack Wilshere already had the 10 when I arrived at Arsenal in 2013. The club said I will get the 10 when it is free. Since Wilshere left in the summer it’s free but I still haven’t got it.

At the beginning of December, Der Spiegel devoted their cover page to you – with gold Euro signs in your eyes. In Spain, you were supposedly asked to make a tax payment of over two million Euros and on account of a ‘serious penalty’ have been fined 800,000 Euros. What is the current status?

On that article, all I want to say at the moment is I immediately sought proceedings with my lawyers. The cover page as well as the essential points of the story about me have been forbidden with a provisional injunction.

Back to football: after defeat at the Euros in France you were beaten down like hardly anyone else in the German team. How difficult was it to accept this semi-final defeat?

Very difficult, because it was a bitter Déjà-vu experience. Clearly we were world champions in 2014, in Brazil we had a great experience. But in previous years we were already knocked out of the tournaments in the semi-finals. 2010 against Spain, 2012 against Italy, now against France. That was particularly painful – the disappointment is still there.

Still?

We wanted to show the world that, like Spain before, we could establish an era. I absolutely wanted to be European Champion, because I knew how wonderful that felt from the U21 triumph. In the first half we took the French apart, the final was right there. Then in Marseille, as everything ended up, emotions ran high and there were tears. I simply wanted it to be untrue that we had lost the game despite clearly being the better team…

The feeling of giving up a huge shot at the trophy is the predominant one?

Definitely. I am really good friends with Cristiano Ronaldo and the Portuguese can be proud of what they achieved. But when I see how the final was and how it was won, it hurts all the more. I am sure we would have done it. But that’s football. The winner isn’t the better team, rather the one that also has some luck.

Maybe also more determination?

Yeah, that too. In a tournament it’s important that everything goes right and every player is fit. In the semi-final Sami Khedira and Mario Gomez were missed. We had no real striker to really push into the box.

Which lessons can you take from France into the World Cup in Russia?

That you don’t do unnecessary things, for example handballs in the box and waste so many chances. We have to be ice cold and hungry for goals. When that’s the case, we will achieve our targets.

Joachim Löw has recently strengthened with some younger players. Does that change the face of the team a bit?

I can’t follow the Bundesliga so intensely, because I usually have my own games. But I see that the young players coming in have the quality to play at a big tournament like the World Cup.

Who do you mean?

Julian Brandt is an example, he is so good on the ball. Also Max Meyer. Leroy Sané and Julian Draxler were already there at the Euros but still belong to that group of players. We already have a lot of potential, not just for Russia but the years to follow.

In the last two and a half years, long-time leading players Philipp Lahm, Per Mertesacker, Miroslav Klose, Podolski and Bastian Schweinsteiger have retired. Has that altered your role with the national team?

I believe, behind Mario Gomez, I am the longest serving player in the national team but my role is always the same. I just like to play! When something is going wrong on the pitch I open my mouth and that has weight. But usually I am rather quiet and leave the talking to the players from the “team council”.

Was it an important signal to the team that Löw has extended his contract from 2018 to 2020?

Yes. We are glad to have such a great coach on our side. He has earned it after developing German football over the years. For many years he’s had a consistent vision for beautiful, offensive football.

Löw has already confirmed that he wants to leave a lot of players out this summer during the Confederations Cup, instead naming a squad of young talent. Are you glad or would you like to play in Russia this summer?

Of course we want to play, that’s why we became footballers. However, I know a break in the summer would do me good. Eventually the body doesn’t do what you want and you drop a couple of percent. That’s why I’m thankful that Joachim Löw, as well as Arsène Wenger, can let me occasionally miss a game.

Klose ended his career at 37. Have you already got an idea how long you can go on?

Above all else, how long my body allows me to. In any case I already have an idea what I want to do first after my career.

And that would be?

I tell my friends and family: I will take a whole year off, go on holiday with my family and I would like to see the world, and play football with my brother and friends.

Over Christmas you had a dozen relatives and loved ones at your home in London. Do you always need someone around you?

Sure! I often have visitors, my cousin Serdar and my dog Balboa are basically always with me. I am lucky that the friends I was raised with work for me today and are there. And that the right people, who I trust completely, have joined us. The two years in Bremen I lived alone, watched TV shows alone, ate alone. That wasn’t for me. Over Christmas everyone was there, everyone slept wherever there was space. It was fun.

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53 Comments on "Mesut Ozil Kicker interview – full transcript"

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spinner

But Mesut, when you signed a 5 year contract with us in 2013, Arsene Wenger only had a year left on his contract. Where were the assurances you were seeking then?

Hmmm, good PR coaching from team Ozil. Nicely deflected from the £300k per week wage demand.

Hoosier Gunner

Love Mesut!

Alex

It is strange some down voted you… surely fans…

James

Because fans cant be objective and have to like every player (rolls eyes).

Anonymarse

“Fans”

wizardry

To say that Löw has been a terrific coach is an understatement. I remember him playing Ozil full matches at the WC when everyone else was saying drop him. Look how that worked out. Giving Ozil a breather when he needed it too by dropping him from his squad. Unlike some arseholes who persisted on playing an unfit diaby in the French national team.

wellarsed

Sure it’s PR stuff, but that interview does give you some sense of who the guy is and what is important to him. Really hope we can sign him up for another 5 years!

Mustrum Ridcully, Unseen Academicals
Mustrum Ridcully, Unseen Academicals

He comes over as a really nice person who has his head on straight. He is not arrogant and shows respect to everyone.

Whether that is good PR training or not, still, nice one Mezut!

Iain

I have to wonder, considering the Club are very aware of his obsession with having the No.10 shirt, why dont they give him it and oil the wheels of this contract negotiation, so easy to do and one box ticked.

NorthernGooner

I read somewhere that Premier League rules do not allow changing numbers mid-season

Sam

Loved that guy since he was at Werder Bremen. I’d always buy him at each one of my Manager modes starting FIFA10, it was awesome when Arsenal bought him in real life.

Sidkid

“I am lucky that the friends I was raised with work for me today”

I won’t be happy reading this if I were one of those friends

Kafkush

You mean you won’t be happy if your friend who made it helped you secure your future and your family’s security?

santori

As I mentioned before, h could have really been signed by 6 or 7 other clubs who have as much if not more financial clout as us.

That Wenger managed the situation and snapped him up late (having to wait on the Bale deal) shows the amount of work that was put in prior.

Which is why the Higuain deal got complicated. Wenger had an eye on Ozil and did not want to follow Napoli upwards with price.

The fact that Ozil chose us over other clubs who had similar requirement for him also atest to what he is saying here with regard Wenger.

He is a great developer of talent (never mind his flaws tactically at times).

I think some of the big names brought in are the sort of players who realise they are not finished articles and can improve under Wenger

Case in point Alexis who was not having a decent opportunity at Barca. Also Granit. He could have waited later into window and there would have been a host of clubs in for his signature who could pay more than us. But he chose us EARLY in window for this very reason. He believes he can improve under Wenger.

When you look at the players Wenger has brought in from Academy recently – Bellerin, Iwobi and Coquelin, the players who have improved under his watch in previous seasons like RVP, even Henry who had questions surrounding his potential following a poor stint at Juventus, you wonder what some Arsenal fans are drinking.

Wenger is one of the best ever in market buying players and developing them.

Much is made of his poor buys but again, in context, many of these picks were at relatively low cost and at less detriment to club finance. Which is important for a self financed model.

Where he has spent big – Mustafi, Granit, Ozil and Alexis, he has been spot on.

Contrast the millions squandered on mediocre players by a host of PL managers that have been purported to be football geniuses by the media.

😉

Heavenly Chapecoense

Wenger needs to get these great players he recruited, win the league now.

uncle D

A lot of #Wengerout fans ( which are not arsenal fans by the way!) are like drums! Empty, loud and need a good hiding!!!

buzzkill

So if someone’s opinion differs from yours, they aren’t arsenal fans…lol! Narrow minded tosser!

Mootilated

Well said. Having said that, however, he must improve the team mentality. It still feels like there are some areas on the pitch were we need improving. While we have recruited some beasts in central defence over the past couple of years, it still feels like we lack any decent structure at the back. Arsenal are world class in midfield and up front but, for some reason, no matter who we have at the back, we always seem to be prone to too many defensive mistakes.

tapps

Yet again, an excellent comment Santori!

mauro

I think the club is holding off on giving Ozil the 10 shirt, not out of loyalty to Wilshere, but pending when (if) Ozil signs the contract extension.

Heavenly Chapecoense

To me, Wilshere must keep the number 10 cause he already had it before Ozil came to Arsenal. Players are affected by having to give their number to another teammate. Remember Gallas had a big problem with Mourinho when he gave his number to another player. That’s was one of the reasons Gallas came to Arsenal.

mauro

Understood, but in this case, Wilshere asked to leave, albeit only on loan.

Vonnie

Jack Wilshere has never done anything to earn the no 10 shirt, so when Mesut signs his new contract he should get it, and if Wilshere wants to be affected that’s fine by me.

GoonerAbroad

Love the confidence he has in his own abilities. Elite mentality.

Anonymarse

All sounds positive

Paul

Yes but can we stop playing crap please!?? 🙂

Anonymarse

That would be nice

Paul

The “thumb” down on your comment…. “that would be nice” …..beggars belief! 🙂

Anonymarse

Must be some sp*rs fans on here

900ftGooner

I wonder who he’s referring to as being “upset because they sat on the bench.”

mauro

I’d guess Walcott, as he’s often been lauded this season for the improvement in his mentality.

goonero

It’s still too early to get into the should he stay should he go debate. Come the end of February, that’s when the real talk can start.

Paul

I really dislike Adrian Durham.

Fireman Sam

I really dislike Adrian Chiles

Jasonissimo

“MO: In previous years there were always players who were upset because they sat on the bench. Now they come on hungrier. Everyone feels this year we can really achieve something.

. . .

K: In the national team you inherited the number 10 shirt after Lukas Podolski’s retirement. Why do you still wear 11 at Arsenal?

MO: I would like to wear the 10, I’ve always wanted that, the club knew that from the beginning. Jack Wilshere already had the 10 when I arrived at Arsenal in 2013. The club said I will get the 10 when it is free. Since Wilshere left in the summer it’s free but I still haven’t got it.”

Hmm. Interesting.

gooner of Oz

The interview itself is up there and people are making up facts and going on rants! Like why? You obviously have one of the best playmakers any team could ask for. He of course is so dependable on his mates quality. He is like a multiplier card. The better the box to box+defensive mid behind him the better he could show his magic touch. The better the striker and wingers the crazier his passes get. Thats why so many people were asking for a cold blood finisher last season. Everyone realised that part. What they dont is when there’s no real box to box to ensure him possesion (exept Santi) he cant even start to show his work.

MyGooner

“He is like a multiplayer card” totally agreed!

MyGooner

*multiplier…..

TheNicolau15

The n.10 part of The interview is pretty comical. First, Wilshere didn’t leave the club on permanent basis, and after, the club didn’t any chance to give Ozil the number because you just can’t change the number of a player after August 8 (or something). This even on FM, ffs

Mootilated

The negative questions from this interviewer are quite sad. Everything is; finish fourth or elimination or loss against this team or that. Jeez. Be a bit more positive.

Rashwho

Or we could just give ppl a reason to he positive instead of denying our failure. Ex. A league title since 2004 would be one.

OD

A bit controversial but if Wenger staying is the only thing that’ll make him sign, I genuinely believe they should both leave.

Wenger has shown he isn’t as capable as he was to win a league title and as good a player Ozil is, Arsenal has lost better.

The club just needs a change, I’m tired of finishing in the top 4 and getting knocked out at the early champions League stages EVERY year. What is the point of finishing in the top 4 only to be knocked out early on. I don’t get it!

Please no one should come here mentioning Wenger out the brigade and all that. I have tremendous respect for him but he has shown he is no longer up to the task of winning the league, it’s clear for all to see.

NickyB

Wilshere wears the no.10 shirt and did not leave in the summer, therefore it is not free, Mesut.

Nelson joseph

ozil please extend your contract at arsenal and also influence sanchez to do so.
Encourage your fellow team mates to have a spirit of winning uefa

PepKlopp

Is it any surprise Ozil wants wenger to commit before signing a new deal. Wenger’s the only manager that doesn’t make him play defense. He would have to run hard, press the ball, and God forbid make a tackle playing for any other big time manager. Everton and MC were proof of what a liability he can be. But what a magical left foot when he’s in form.

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