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 was close to joining Barcelona in 2010 during his time at Bundesliga club Werder Bremen, but he instead opted for La Liga rivals Real Madrid.
The Germany World Cup winner initially had his heart set on Barca but admits Pep Guardiola’s lack of involvement in the deal put him off.
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 eventually joined Madrid in 2010 for £15million and went on to win one La Liga title, the Copa del Rey and Spanish Super Cup before his £42.5m move to Arsenal in 2013.
“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.
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.