‘I don’t care what people think of me,’ says Ozil on critics
Insists he listens to those inside his inner circle
OPINIONS and Mesut Ozil go hand-in-hand. You’ll have reached your own conclusions about the enigmatic German. Genius, lazy, luxury player, disinterested, unpatriotic or under-appreciated; whatever the stigma, Ozil’s probably been called it.
Of course, those opinions are wholly entitled — Ozil admits as much as he sits down with
Sportsmail for a rare newspaper interview.
But don’t expect Ozil to listen. Don’t expect him to take it to heart. Don’t expect him to care.
“Look, I know there’s people out there that like me, there are also people who don’t like me,” Ozil says.
“This is a fact of life. But, for me, what is important is what the people in my inner circle tell me.
“I don’t care what people say outside of that. It doesn’t affect me. If the coach, or people in my circle, tell me: "Mesut you have to do this, or have to do that" then I listen. I’ll take that and work on it.
“But I don’t look at what someone else is saying. It really doesn’t affect me.”
You can make your own mind up about who Ozil’s remarks are aimed at. Pundits? Maybe.
It was less than a fortnight ago he was described as ‘petulant’ by Graeme Souness. Ozil will argue he’s been called far worse.
Or maybe it’s those who criticised him for the reasoning behind his international retirement after Germany’s disastrous World Cup campaign.
The midfielder, born to Turkish parents, cited ‘discrimination’ as his reason behind walking away from international football.
“I am German when we win, an immigrant when we lose,” said Ozil — a devout Muslim — in July when announcing his international retirement. Yet there’s no anger or resentment in Ozil’s tone when discussing criticism.
Instead, his response is cool and calculated, with the same precision as his outrageous outside of the boot pass to setup Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in last month’s win over Leicester.
Inevitably, that game against the Foxes comes up in conversation. How could it not? Ozil was breathtaking that night — a goal followed by his sublime assist.
All that on an evening when he was captaining Arsenal for the very first time. Unarguably, one of — if not his best — performance in an Arsenal shirt.
Indeed, Unai Emery’s revolution is quickly taking shape — and Ozil is a central figure in the Gunners resurgence since Arsene Wenger’s departure.
The German playmaker has been at the centre of Arsenal's resurgence this year.