Mesut Ozil says an offer to move to China was ‘tempting and interesting’ but ultimately not something he seriously considered because he plays football for the love of it, not for financial gain.
The Germany international revealed in his new book ‘Gunning for Greatness’ that he could have earned upwards of £100 million over the course of five years following an approach last summer but took only three minutes to reject the idea.
“Money never played a big role for me in football,” Ozil told Goal.com as he again outlined why it was an easy decision.
“I play football because I love it. Sure, you do not earn peanuts and the offer from China was tempting and interesting. But as I said: Money is not everything.
“I want to win titles and I have my goals I want to achieve. That is more important than money. That’s why I said from the beginning, that China is not an option for me.”
On the pitch, Ozil has come in for further criticism about his failure to make an impact in big games and for his downbeat body language that many have interpreted as a sign of a laissez-faire attitude.
Despite admitting this time last year that he was working on his body language, it appears that the 28-year-old has accepted he’ll always split opinions.
“Some people like me, some people don’t. Some people look at my body language and think I don’t care. But that’s me. I won’t change my body language or my style of play drastically anymore.
“Expectations on me were very high everywhere, because I am a player who can make the difference. You have to deal with that.
“There will always be criticism and there will always be praise. But what matters is what the manager tells me. I have said that numerous times. But what I can’t understand is when people say: ‘Look, he does not push anymore’ or ‘He does not run enough’. If you look at my numbers you can see I run a lot and I show a good attitude.”
In truth, there’s not much that’s new in the above. The big issue at the moment is whether he’ll be around next season to prove the haters wrong.
You suspect if another offer was to come in from China this summer it would take Ozil longer than three minutes to dismiss it and Arsenal might be far more tempted to accept it.
You can read the full Ozil interview with Goal.com, here.