Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has said it was difficult decision to sell Mesut Ozil at the end of the summer transfer window.
Ozil left for Arsenal in a deal worth around 42 million pounds, to the dissatisfaction of some of the Real supporters as the Germany international was considered a key member of the squad.
But, with Gareth Bale arriving, Angel Di Maria’s hard work had been more necessary for the team than Ozil’s quality, according to Ancelotti.
"Yes, that was a football decision," Ancelotti said. "For the balance of the team I preferred to have Di Maria. He has less quality than Ozil but I wanted him for his character and his help for the team. With Bale’s arrival I believe it is more important to have Di Maria than Ozil, looking at the balance of the team.”
Ancelotti also said it is up to Iker Casillas to decide if he wants to stay at Real, but the current policy of ‘rotating’ his goalkeepers is not going to change.
Club captain Casillas is currently only seeing action in Madrid’s Champions League games, with Diego Lopez preferred in La Liga -- and expected to start Saturday’s Clasico at Barcelona’s Camp Nou.
The 2010 World Cup winner has hinted that he might leave the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in January should he spend much more time on the bench, as he is concerned about his Spain place ahead of next summer’s finals in Brazil.
The Blancos coach admitted on El Larguero on Thursday night that the situation was “difficult” and that Casillas had a choice to make over his own future.
“That is a question for him, but I do not believe he is thinking that,” Ancelotti said. “I have spoken with him to explain the situation. When he wants to talk with me, my office is open. For a coach, to explain a decision is very difficult. You have lots of little details which are not easy to explain. The rotation will continue, that decision is taken."
Ancelotti accepted that ‘his’ Madrid side had yet to click, but said he had a clear plan for how the team should play.
“The plan is very clear, to win playing fantastic football,” he said. “At the moment we are winning, but our play is not so good. More recently we have improved, because we have paid attention to recovering the ball, which is now done more quickly.”
The former Milan, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain boss said that that he did not impose a system on his players, but designed strategies around the players he had at his disposal.
“It is important at the start to get to know the characteristics of all your players,” Ancelotti said. “From there you form a system where they feel comfortable.”
Ancelotti recalled that his predecessor at the Bernabeu had taken time to come to terms with the challenge of playing Barcelona, but had ultimately worked out a way to beat them -- and joked that he would set his team out exactly that way.
“When [Jose] Mourinho arrived he had problems,” he said. “But since then Madrid have played fantastically well there. I will try and play like the Copa semi-final last year, the 3-1, and not change anything.”