When Mesut Ozil left Real Madrid this summer for Arsenal - let’s just say it was not exactly an amicable split between the two parties.
Accusation and counter-accusation about the reasons behind his departure saw a war of words involving his agent father, Zinedine Zidane and Carlo Ancelotti almost get out of hand.
Essentially Madrid implied that Ozil didn’t have the fight to battle Gareth Bale, Angel Di Maria and co for a place in the Los Merengues starting XI.
Real’s loss was of course Arsenal’s gain - and they snapped up the German international for £42.4 million in the summer, a deal that has breathed life into the North London club.
And this week it was reported that Ancelotti was regretting the decision to sell Ozil in the summer.
The reports came from Gulf News, who had apparently held an interview with the manager in which he reportedly stated:
“I think we made a mistake when we allowed [Ozil] to leave the club.”
Quite a statement from a boss who had previously said of his departure:
“Ozil wasn’t comfortable. I knew he’d been speaking with another club because he wanted to leave. Mesut understood that he had competition, that he wouldn’t be able to play every game – and ‘I’m off’ was his answer. I prefer to have Angel Di Maria for the team’s balance. Di Maria is better than Ozil for group dynamics.”
It almost seemed to shocking to be true - and according to Real there was a very good reason for that … it isn’t.
They released a statement today in which they assert that no interview even took place.
The clubs press relations officer Carlos Carbajosa stated, in an interview with AS:
“Ancelotti has not given an interview with Gulf News. He did not make any statements about Ozil. The coach’s thoughts on Ozil remain the same: Maximum respect for him, fully aware of his departure and he takes responsibility for it. He has answered every question on Ozil the same way. It lacks journalistic sense to think he would say otherwise now. Both the alleged interview and the content are false as the majority should have guessed.”
So Ancelotti still thinks he is a bottler then? Time for Ozil to prove him wrong by picking up on his recent form.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald