- Ozil reveals reasons why he chose Real Madrid
- Mourinho factor helped sway his decision
- Slammed Guardiola for failing to meet him
WHAT HAPPENED? The former Germany international claimed that while he visited both Real Madrid and Barcelona back in 2010 after deciding to leave Werder Bremen, it was Jose Mourinho's behaviour and treatment towards him that prompted him to choose Los Blancos over Barcelona. Indeed, the midfielder expressed how the Portuguese manager treated him like a star, while the then-Barca boss did not even make an effort to meet him.
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WHAT THEY SAID: Speaking to Marca, Ozil said: "It was a decision between Real Madrid and Barcelona. And in the end it was not a case of money. I don’t know if this is known, but I visited Madrid and Barcelona at that time and the difference was Jose Mourinho. Mou gave me a VIP visit to Real Madrid. He took me to see the stadium and all the trophies they had won. That gave me goosebumps.
"The visit in Barcelona was less enthusiastic and what was more disappointing is that Pep Guardiola didn’t bother to meet me. Before that trip, I really liked Barcelona’s style of football and I could really imagine playing with them, but Madrid went all out. So Jose Mourinho was without a doubt the most important factor in my decision. After my visits, my decision was one hundred percent clear: I wanted to be a Madridista."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: The 34-year-old retired from professional football on March 22 having enjoyed a career at the highest level for over 15 years, highlighted by a successful spell at Real Madrid. Ozil was a crucial piece in the Madrid side that won La Liga with the highest points total in history under Mourinho's tutelage, with the former Arsenal midfielder having particularly enjoyed his Clasico triumphs over Barca.
IN TWO PHOTOS:Getty
WHAT NEXT FOR GUARDIOLA & OZIL? Pep Guardiola's Manchester City side will next be in action on April 1 when they take on Liverpool in a crucial Premier League encounter. As for Ozil, it's unclear what he'll do next and whether he'll decide to remain in football in some capacity or look to do something completely different following his retirement.