Mesut Ozil praises Arsenal trust
Mesut Ozil has praised Arsenal for affording him the responsibility to become a central figure of the team, something he feels he was denied at Real Madrid.
It was alleged that Ozil had been allowed to leave Real due to the club becoming tired of his off-pitch behaviour, something club president Florentino Perez later denied.
But he insisted it is his performance on the pitch that counts, pointing to his excellent record as a player for Los Blancos, before thanking Arsenal for the warm welcome that has been afforded to him since his summer transfer.
“I had three fantastic years [in Madrid] and would like to leave it at that. 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," he said.
"London is a city I feel great in. I have grown to love the place and 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 was also full of praise for Arsene Wenger, and claimed the Premier League's competitiveness makes it a more complete challenge than La Liga.
"Let me just say he is a super coach,” Ozil said. “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. 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 sing as part of 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," he said.
Adding of his song choice: "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.
"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."
Alongside Ozil at the press conference, his former Real Madrid teammate Sami Khedira refused to criticise his employers for their decision to part ways with the popular playmaker.
"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," Khedira said.
"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 have known 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."