While reports of outbound Real Madrid midfield starlet Mesut Ozil undergoing a medical ahead of a prospective move to Arsenal emerged in Germany, back in Spain, at the official unveiling of Los Blancos' record-breaking signing Gareth Bale, the 20,000+ fans at the Santiago Bernabeu started making their chants heard… but not all were there to just support the former Tottenham Hotspur forward.
Club president Florentino Perez welcomed Bale to the theatre he will be performing in for the duration of his new, £300,000 per week, six-year contract: 'Your dream is coming true,' he said.'You're at the most demanding club in the world… I hope you know that, but we're with you and you'll always feel loved by us.
'Bale, from now on, this is your stadium, your home and your family, your shirt and your fans… welcome to Real Madrid!'
Bale, sporting the number 11 on the back of his new Real kit, spoke of his dream coming true and vowed to do his part in helping the club secure La Decima… their tenth Champions League trophy.
The attack-minded 24-year-old played keepy-uppy with a ball (but kept the ball in the air just three times), to the adulation of the majority of supporters in attendance. Yet there were noticeable chants aimed at the club's higher brass… to not allow midfielder Mesut Ozil to leave, as collectively they shouted at Perez: 'Ozil is not for sale!'
It is not hard to fathom how Ozil established himself as a fan's favourite in Madrid. The German international played more key passes last season for Real Madrid (78) than the combined efforts of Andres Iniesta, Francesc Fabregas and Sergio Busquets at Barcelona combined (75).
He completed 1,781 of 2,225 attempted passes in major competition (La Liga, Champions League, Copa del Rey), completed 411 stepovers, scored ten times from 47 shots and attracted 64 fouls in 3,563 minutes of pitch-time.
If Ozil recreates those statistics whilst wearing Arsenal's red and white strip then he will no doubt become a Gunners favourite, too.
image: © James Boyes