Mourinho pulls off big transfer coup in beating English elite to Ozil's signature
Jose Mourinho has beaten his former club Chelsea and Alex Ferguson to secure the signing of Mesut Ozil, the German playmaker who was one of the stars of the World Cup, for his refashioned Real Madrid.
Ferguson has made no secret of his desire to bring the 21-year-old to Old Trafford but the player always preferred a move to the Spanish capital, where he will link up with countryman Sami Khedira, who was signed from Stuttgart for around €15m. The fee for Ozil has yet to be disclosed but is understood also to be €15m -- he only had a year left on his contract with Werder Bremen.
Ozil will undergo a medical at the Bernabeu today after the two clubs agreed a fee yesterday. Bremen turned down an offer from the Spanish giants on Friday but Madrid have now satisfied their demands for the player.
Madrid have also brought in Angel di Maria from Benfica and defender Ricardo Carvalho from Chelsea this summer as new boss Mourinho looks to win back the La Liga crown from Barcelona.
Ozil did not take part in Bremen's final training session yesterday ahead of today's Champions League match with Sampdoria. Bremen's director of sport Klaus Allofs had opened up new contract talks with Ozil a year ago, but the player officially rejected the club's final offer prior to the World Cup.
Meanwhile, with Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano still seeking a new club, Lionel Messi has attempted to persuade him to join Barcelona.
Mascherano wants to end his three-season stay at Anfield but has so far attracted no offers, and Messi wants his fellow Argentine to join him in Spain.
"The little captain (Mascherano) would be a great boost for Barca," said Messi. "He has the quality to play for Barcelona and his character would fit in perfectly at the club."
THE BIZARRE and bewildering story of the French players' revolt at the World Cup continued yesterday when the French Football Federation made the meaningless gesture of handing an 18-game ban to Nicolas Anelka, who had already announced his retirement from international football.
The other players in the farce were treated more leniently. Patrice Evra, was suspended for five matches for leading a boycott of a training session in support of Anelka, who was banished from the squad for insulting the former coach Raymond Domenech.
The disciplinary commission also gave a three-match ban to Franck Ribery and a one-match suspension to Jeremy Toulalan. Eric Abidal escaped sanction. (© Independent News Service)