Mesut Ozil: Barcelona should take a closer look at themselves and not always complain about referees

Mesut Ozil: Barcelona should take a closer look at themselves and not always complain about referees

Mesut Ozil: Barcelona should take a closer look at themselves and not always complain about referees


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In Clasico week, it is impossible not to remember Mesut Özil (Gelserkinchen, 1988), the brilliant footballer who amazed Real Madrid fans and who played the best games of his career against Barcelona. Retired for the past year, Mesut reviews the latest news from Real Madrid and the world of football. The tie against City, the Clasico, the Champions League, the Mourinho-Guardiola duels, Güler, his physical change… Özil talks about everything with MARCA.

Question. It’s been a year since you decided to quit football, do you miss it very much?

Answer. Not yet to be honest. I am very proud of my career and all the big clubs I have played for. But the decision I took a year ago was considered very well and I exactly knew what I wanted. I enjoy life with my family in Istanbul to the fullest. It’s a big pleasure I can see both kids growing up and seeing them every day. I would have had opportunites to continue my career or even to come back one more time – offers from Saudi Arabia or Qatar and other tournaments, but I didn’t want and I don’t regret it.

Q. What have you been doing over the last year?

A. You cannot spend enough time with your family. I enjoy every second. There’s also some business stuff like real estate and of course my hobbys like gaming, going almost every day to the gym but one of my newest hobbys is riding horses. (laughing) I enjoy that a lot, it really makes a lot of fun.

Q. We are seeing that he is getting very strong in the gym? What is your goal?

Thank you for watching

A. I don’t have a special goal. I am not waiting for a WWE offer. (laughing) I’m really just making that for myself – to stay fit. It makes a lot of fun. I have my own gym in my house and a personal trainer.

Q. Are you still in touch with the world of football, or are you keeping your distance?

A. A middle thing. Sometimes I still watch the games of especially Real Madrid, Arsenal or Fenerbahce. But when I am not in the mood I don’t follow that much anymore. Over phone I’m of course still in touch with old teammates that became friends over the time.

Q. Could we see you working as a coach or sporting director in the future, or is that out of the question?

A. You never know, but right now this is out of question. I’m happy how things are right now. I am not bored yet, we will see how things are in a couple of years.

Q. Did you see the UCL game against Man City?

A. Yes, it was a fantastic fight. City showed why no one wants to play against them. They dominated the 2nd leg most of the time. But Real was very smart as always. They defended extremly strong. I shouted Hala Madrid after Toni Rüdiger’s penalty. That was so exciting. And now Real Madrid are the big favourites. I’m confident they can win the title now.

Q. It’s Clasico week: what memories do you have of the duels against Barcelona?

A. At that time it was the biggest game in the world of football. Unfortunately for us Barca was maybe the best Barca ever at that time. Pep’s Barca was another level than today’s Barca. Nowadays the focus is maybe more on games like Liverpool vs. Manchester City or other Premier League games. But not so much anymore on Clasico. But that’s not a fault of Real Madrid as they are definitely one of the best teams in the world. Just Barca lost on power.

Q. You always played very well against Barça, do you remember your Copa match at Camp Nou? If you score that goal that went against the crossbar…

A. Yes, if you Google best of Özil” sooner or later you will always find that shoot. (laughing) I was always 200% motivated against Barca. The media before these games went crazy. It was something else.

Q. Were the Mourinho vs. Guardiola duels for you the best in history?

A. I would say yes. Still nowadays many football fans are missing that time – the peak of football.

Q. Let’s talk about this Clásico: Are Real Madrid favourites?

A. Definitely yes. Barcelona is struggeling. They have good players on all positions, but they’ve had too many injuries this season and maybe they should look a bit more on themselves and not always complaining about the referees. This does not help. Real is playing a fantastic season. I did not expect that after Karim left the club. But they are doing so well.

Q. Is winning the Clásico winning La Liga for Real Madrid?

A. I think so yes. Real won’t lose a couple of games in a row. They are so strong.

Q. Wouldn’t you like to see the Clásico at the Bernabéu?

A. When are we going to see you at the Bernabéu? You deserve a tribute!

I definitely want to visit the new Bernabeu in the future. I first thought I can make it to Sunday’s game, but something came in between.

Q. What do you think of Bellingham’s season?

A. His first half of the season was incredible and left everyone out of words. Last weeks he seemed to be a bit tired, but when he wins La Liga, the Champions League and the Euros, he could be candidate for the Ballon d’Or. He is still so young – it’s amazing.

Q. Which other Madrid player is impressing you?

A. Antonio Rüdiger is playing a world class season. I mean … which defender played a better season in Europe than him? And he was also the difference in the ManCity games. He did not play the 2nd leg last season from the beginning and they lost 0-4. In this week’s game at the Etihad Haaland was always walking towards Nacho Monreal to not get in any duels with Toni. That’s all you need to know. And Haaland is definitely also world class. Toni’s mentality is incredible.

Q. Another case is Güler: did you know him, what do you think of him?

A. I know him very well. He was like my little brother when we both played at Fenerbahce. Everbody knows his talent – that’s why I don’t want to praise him too much and put more and more pressure on him. This is not very easy to handle especially when you get the big hope of such a big football fascinating country like Turkey.

Q. We’ve seen that he’s incredibly talented, but he’s barely playing, what advice would you give him?

A. Just be patient. His time will come for sure. He is still so young. He can learn so much in every training session. And he has world class players in front of him.

Q. You think Güler has the conditions to write a beautiful story at Madrid.

A. Yes. Maybe not this season or next season. But there’s time. And if it is not working he still can look how Ödegaard made his way. Everyone critzised him when he did not play at the youngest age, but a few years later he is the leader at another big European club at Arsenal FC

Q. This year marks 10 years since you became world champion. Tell us, where do you have the medal?

The medal is in my house – very well protected. Amazing memories.

Q. I saw the final shirt the other day at the Legends Museum in Madrid. What does it mean to you that it’s on display here?

A. It’s very nice to still have that connection with Real. I still get so many messages from Real Madrid fans on social media although I left the club over ten years ago. I appreciate that a lot and that shows how special the Real Madrid fans are.

A. The English and French teams are incredible. Not just the starting 11, but their depth in the squad. These squads are just Wow. But Euros and World Cup is always a lot about luck and is not like a whole season. One crossbar, one penalty shootout or one referee decision can make the difference and it’s not possible to completly dominate every single game over 90 minutes. That’s why there should also be chances to go to the final for teams like Spain, Portugal or Germany.

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