La Liga 2016/17: Mesut Ozil rejected Barcelona and signed for Real Madrid because of Pep Guardiola
What’s the story?
Arsenal superstar Mesut Ozil has revealed that Pep Guardiola was the reason for him rejecting Barcelona and then signing for Real Madrid. The German midfielder made the revelations in his newly released autobiography, ‘Die Magie des Spiels‘ (The Magic of the Game), serialised by Bild.
Ozil wrote, “Before I travelled to Barcelona, I was convinced that was my next club. I was leaning toward joining Barcelona. There was no team in the world that played more beautiful football. But Guardiola did not attend talks and he did not call me either the days after. He did not even send me a text.
“He did not show me that he wanted to sign me as well. My interest in a move to Barcelona quickly decreased.”
Ozil was hot property in the world of football after the 2010 FIFA World Cup, with the German confirming that he held talks with Arsenal, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid, before finally signing for Los Blancos for a fee reported to be in the region of €15 million.
The heart of the matter
Real Madrid consider Mesut Ozil to be one of their best signings in recent memory, despite the German midfielder leaving for Arsenal after just 3 seasons at the Bernabeu, where he quickly became a fan favourite for his El Clasico performances and great rapport with Cristiano Ronaldo.
However, it could have been Lionel Messi that Mesut Ozil was dovetailing with, had Pep Guardiola displayed even a remote interest in applying a personal touch to signing the German. The current Manchester City manager’s tendency to be ‘cold’ is well known, as acknowledged by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger are poles apart from Guardiola, often making personal calls to convince players to join them, a scenario that was confirmed by Ozil himself, when he signed for Arsenal
Ozil’s future at Arsenal is still in doubt, with the German yet to sign a contract extension. The 28-year-old could still potentially move to Barcelona, although the likelihood of him ever signing for Pep Guardiola is probably non-existent.
Given that Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona dominated European football in Ozil’s first season in La Liga, the German probably has regrets over turning him down. Guardiola is famous for lacking a ‘personal touch’, but a Champions League medal could have potentially salved Ozil’s wounds.
In addition, Ozil’s stature in 2010 was not as huge as it is now – with Guardiola perhaps considering it unnecessary to convince a 22-year-old to join.