Arsenal star Mesut Ozil has revealed in his upcoming autobiography that he did not join dream club Barcelona because Pep Guardiola’s behaviour put him off.
Ozil drew the attention of Spain’s two biggest clubs after key performances for Germany in the 2010 World Cup, with Ozil preferring to join powers with Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid soon after.
“Before I personally wanted to go to Barcelona.” he said. “I was convinced to go there. No team in the world played more beautiful football at this time. But the absence of Pep Guardiola made me suspicious.
“When my consultant and I flew back from Barcelona, I asked him again and again. ‘Why was the coach not there?’ His answer was always the same: ‘He was on vacation.’
“Guardiola did not call me in the following days either. He did not even send an SMS. He did not send a signal that he wanted me to [join]. After that my enthusiasm for Barcelona steadily declined.
“Because of Guardiola’s behaviour, I did not want to go to Barcelona.”
Ozil played three years under Mourinho at Real Madrid, playing in 105 matches and scoring 19 goals, and despite some differences between the two, Ozil reveals he still respects the Portuguese manager.
He continues: “Especially because Mourinho fought so much at the same time. He was so convincing. So heartfelt, trying so hard: he was the complete opposite of the Barca coach. So I decided for Jose Mourinho and Real Madrid.”
Ozil turned down a number of other big European clubs to join Real, among which Arsenal where he would end up in 2013.
“Five clubs came to me after the 2010 World Cup in Africa. Arsenal were already interested, Manchester Untied also and Bayern Munich. As well as Barcelona and Real Madrid.”