Mesut Ozil has explained why he chose to join Arsenal after leaving Real Madrid in 2013 and moving to the Premier League.
The Germany international admits he was delighted to move to north London and says that he wanted to follow in the footsteps of such greats as Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Robert Pires in playing for Arsenal.
“[Joining] Arsenal was a special moment,” he told Arsenal Media. “[Before] I moved to Real Madrid I spoke to Wenger who wanted me to move to Arsenal but I said: “Believe me, in the future, if I get the opportunity to change club, you will be the first address for me”.
“So we spoke and I decided to come. I remember [Thierry] Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Robert Pires – such great players – and I wanted to be a part of them.
“My first and second year we won the FA Cup. I really enjoy playing for such a big club like Arsenal.”
Ozil also explained what life was like playing for Real Madrid and says he learned how to cope with the pressure of playing for a big club.
“The 2012 World Cup [I was] wanted by big clubs. My idol is Zidane and he played for such a big club like Madrid, and when I heard they made an offer to me, especially [Jose] Mourinho, I spoke with him on the phone,” he added.
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“His ideas, what he thought about me as a player, I believed in him and moved to Madrid.
“But everything was different – it’s a really big team. If you go from Werder Bremen – maybe a talented young player – to such a big club and big players, the first time you sit there, what can you say? You are nothing.
“If you play for Real, even if you draw against Barca it’s the worst, you have to win every game. If you win 10 in a row and then maybe draw at home against a small team, after that you have direct pressure, so I really learned there to control the pressure, to just enjoy it.”
Signing Ozil from Real Madrid was a real coup and the fact that the Germany international chose to join Arsenal, ahead of many other options, is a huge compliment to Arsene Wenger and the club.