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Dec 3, 2012

Ozil determined to succeed at Madrid

Real Madrid midfielder Mesut Ozil says he has no interest in the criticism he has taken from the Spanish media and is only concerned about the opinion of coach Jose Mourinho.

Mesut Ozil netted in a 2-0 win over Atletico in the Madrid derby this weekend
Mesut Ozil netted in a 2-0 win over Atletico in the Madrid derby this weekend

Germany international Ozil, 24, left Werder Bremen for Madrid in 2010 after excelling at the World Cup in South Africa. Although he impressed early on, questions about his performances have been raised more recently.

"My first year at Real was incredibly good," he told kicker. "We won the cup. In my second year, we won the championship and I set up the most goals in the league. I raised the bar. People generally expect extraordinary performances now. To play at a normal standard is not enough. And then you are mocked. That's what you have to cope with at a world-class club like Real."

He said he believed he and compatriot Sami Khedira have borne the brunt of the criticism, adding: "Players are singled out - sadly, mostly Sami and I. Not many others."

Even so, Ozil - who netted in the 2-0 victory over Atletico Madrid at the weekend - said he was not interested in views expressed in the media.

"That is not the way to judge things. The only thing that is important is how the coach sees me and how he works with me," he said. "I know what the coach thinks and what he expects from me. I have started many games this season. That trust in me says enough."

There has been speculation about Ozil's future at Real, but he said he was not considering a transfer.

"If other clubs think about me, that is an honour but no more than that," he explained. "I am not interested in those rumours. I am under contract until 2016. I want to stay here and win titles."

Madrid take on Ajax in their final group game in the Champions League on Tuesday and, while they will have to settle for runners-up spot behind Borussia Dortmund, Ozil believes this could be the season they win their tenth European crown.

"We have reached the knockout stages now," he said. "The last two years, we got beaten by Barcelona and Munich in the semi-finals. Those were close games. Everyone on our team wants to bring that trophy to Madrid. I hope we can do it this year."

Ozil is also holding out hope of an unlikely comeback in La Liga, with Barcelona 11 points clear of Mourinho's men after 14 games.

"Every day in training, I see how we work and the potential that our team has and how much ambition we all have to be successful again," he said. "If we can bring that quality as a team on the pitch, we are unbeatable. We still have to play them [Barcelona] at home. Everything is possible in football." 

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