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Ozil dismisses Madrid 'unprofessional' tag

ESPN staff
October 10, 2013 « Spurs eyeing move for Salah | Chartbeat test »
Ozil: I'm proud to be a part of the team

Mesut Ozil has again dismissed criticisms about his perceived lack of professionalism at Real Madrid, and hinted at his displeasure at a lack of trust in him at the Bernabeu.

When questions regarding stories about him only getting four hours sleep a night when he was at Madrid were directly put to the playmaker, Ozil simply pointed to his record.

"I had three fantastic years [in Madrid] and would like to leave it at that," said Ozil. "I am now happy to play for Arsenal and if you look at the stats of how many matches I made in the last few years, I think that reflects my professionalism.

"London is a city I feel great in. I have grown to love the place, seen a lot in a short space of time.

"The good thing at Arsenal is the team and coaching staff are fully behind me. They let me assume and share responsibility and that's what I feel great about."

Ozil also lauded new manager Arsene Wenger, and the quality of the Premier League as a whole.

"Wenger, let me just say he is a super coach. He has clear ideas about where he wants to take his team and if you want to be successful you have to have that kind of coach.

"I think the Premier League is the strongest league in the world because it is so balanced, so even and the competition is so fierce, lots of clubs playing at the same level.

"And it's also a good thing for me to get to know British culture, the language and develop further as a person. And the thing is, most of us here at the national team play at the same level in terms of performance in different countries and that's not a bad thing at all for the country."

As regards that aspect of the move, Ozil joked about driving on a different side of the road and the song he had to belt out for his dressing-room induction.

"Well, driving on the left-hand side, I thought it was much more difficult than it really is but Per Mertesacker gave me 'driving lessons'!" added Ozil.

"Singing, I don't want to do it again. My voice is not up to it. I am not an X-Factor candidate by any stretch of the imagination. It was a Turkish song to be honest. Of course people didn't understand what I was singing but they celebrated me nonetheless which I think was great."

Right beside Ozil at Germany's press conference ahead of their qualifier with the Republic of Ireland, Sami Khedira was asked about the decision to sell his former Real Madrid teammate. The midfielder remained diplomatic but insisted it was time for the Spanish club to "open up another chapter".

Khedira said: "Well obviously a lot of columns have been filled about the issue and it's to the detriment of any team selling a Mesut Ozil but having said that I am of course an employee of Real Madrid and I like many other players will be responsible to be successful in future, so let's turn the page, open up another chapter without Mesut Ozil.

"I know Mesut for a while now and I think we have dovetailed on many occasions. Real Madrid is still able to put up some very good games, there is fantastic offensive talent in that squad, Cristiano Ronaldo to name but one."

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