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Real Madrid boss prefers £30m winger to Arsenal playmaker

Carlo Ancelotti today admitted that he decided to sell Mesut Ozil so he could keep Angel di Maria at the Santiago Bernabeu

Real Madrid's decision to sell Mesut Ozil to Arsenal on deadline looked perplexing on the face of it, and despite raking in £42.4m upon his departure, many Los Blancos fans were unhappy that they had sold a player of such quality.

Despite reports that Ozil was unhappy with Carlo Ancelotti just before leaving, the Madrid boss has praised Ozil's ability - but admitted that he would rather have Angel di Maria in his team than the German international.

'Yes, that was a football decision,' Ancelotti said. 'For the balance of the team I preferred to have Di Maria. He has less quality than Ozil but I wanted him for his character and his help for the team. With Bale's arrival I believe it is more important to have Di Maria than Ozil, looking at the balance of the team.'

Ozil has had a fantastic start to life at the Emirates Stadium, dazzling fans with the same qualities he showed in Spain - vision, passing ability, creativity - and whilst Ancelotti attributes Ozil's departure in part to Gareth Bale's arrival, the €30m capture of Isco from Malaga also played a huge part in the sale of Ozil.

Isco plays in the same role as Ozil, and whilst Bale could also play in behind Karim Benzema, the thought was that the Welshman would be replacing di Maria on the wings - yet, according to Ancelotti, that isn't the case.

The former Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain boss has yet to really settle on his best team, or even his best formation after two months of the season, so it will still be interesting to see how he manages to fit Cristiano Ronaldo, Isco, Bale and di Maria into the same team, given that he sold Ozil for "balance" reasons.

At the end of the day, Ozil is a more talented player than Bale, and Madrid have spent over £100m on the Welshman and Isco, whilst recouping just over £40m on Ozil. That's a net spend of around £60m, yet Madrid still sit in third place in the La Liga table, with Saturday's huge clash against Barcelona crucial as they look to keep in touch with the leaders. The arrival of Bale - which smacks of a Florentino Perez Galactico signing - seems to have caused problems with so many international players vying for selection, which led to Ozil's departure.

Ozil enjoyed three fantastic seasons in Madrid, and seemed sure to be a star for the team for years to come. However, with a change of management, that is no longer the case, and Arsenal can actually thank Spurs' sale of Bale for that. Arsenal fans will almost undoubtedly say Ozil, but who would you rather have in your team - Mesut Ozil or Angel di Maria?

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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