Earlier today quotes emerged from a Mesut Ozil interview with SportBILD, in which he talked about how he was singled out for criticism, his ‘heart’ beating for Real Madrid and more.
As ever with these things, mere snippets don’t provide the full context, so with thanks to Lewis Ambrose (@LGAmbrose), we can give you that.
This is all the Arsenal related stuff from his interview.
PLEASE NOTE: To websites/blogs/media organisations: if you take the translation from here, a link back to this article would be greatly appreciated.
Mr. Özil, in 31 games for Arsenal you’ve scored nine – more than ever before – and got nine assists. Why are you still criticised so often?
Actually it is extreme in both directions. When I’m out and about loads of fans call my name, they want a photo. The national team fan club just voted me player of the year, millions visit my social media sites. Numbers don’t lie.
On the other side there are critics and the expectations on me are extreme. People know what I’ve achieved. That I’m a world champion, have played for Real Madrid, had 20 assists last season. So when it isn’t going great for the team, someone gets picked out – unfortunately, often it’s me.
How do you deal with that?
Eventually you have thick skin. It used to trouble me, I thought about it, but if you continue like that you’ll be broken. I have become stronger and not everyone can like you. But you know what makes me. Proud? That the Arsenal fans have written an Özil song.
In that the fans sing you’re better than Zidane! You wrote about that in your book, ‘Magician of the game’.
I have never experienced something like that in a club. Every time the fans sing it I get goosebumps.
How would you rate your season?
I started strongly but – like the team in general – not kept up my performance. When it isn’t going well overall it is twice as hard for a creative player. Take the games against Bayern, for instance.
Arsenal lost 5-1 twice! You were accused of sinking again
Exactly. But I’m not the type of player to chase after the ball the whole time, everyone knows that. My potential lies far more on the offensive side. I’m supposed to be dangerous, create chances, score goals. When I don’t get the ball, that’s difficult.
Your contract expires in 2018. Is it right that Arsenal have withdrawn their offer to you?
You must not believe everything you read. I will just say I have one year to go and I love to run onto the pitch for the club. At the moment everything is open. Let’s wait and see what happens.
The fans would like to chase Arsène Wenger away! Mats Hummels recently said after Carlo Ancelotti was spat at (by Hertha Berlin fans, not Bayern) that fans have less and less respect. Do you see it similarly?
I appreciate the enthusiasm of our fans, the passion. But there have to be limits. I agree with Mats there. We are people, we make mistakes like everyone else. Anyone who works in football and in the public eye has to deal with pressure, that’s a part of it. But one should maintain respect for people and not exceed certain limits.
Is a Bundesliga comeback conceivable one day?
I wouldn’t want to rule it out. Many relatives – especially my mum – would welcome it if I were closer- But you can never plan these things in football.
So, there you go, unsurprisingly they’re being sensationalised elsewhere.
We could definitely use the Ozil from the first half of the season if we’re to finish strongly, and Sunday would be a great start there.