Friday 23 February 2018

Mesut Özil hits back at Arsenal critics after being 'singled out' for poor performances

Mesut Ozil
Mesut Ozil

Mark Critchley

Mesut Özil feels as though he has been unfairly blamed for Arsenal’s struggles this season.

The 28-year-old is yet to reach an agreement with the north London club over a new contract, while his current deal at the Emirates expires in the summer of 2018.

These protracted negotiations have, meanwhile, been played out alongside under-par performances on the pitch from both Özil and his team-mates.

Last month, Özil’s agent, Dr Erkut Sogut, claimed that his client had been made a “scapegoat” for poor team displays, and Özil himself has now echoed those sentiments.

“People know what I have achieved. That I am a World Cup winner, played for Real Madrid, set up 20 goals last season,” he said.

“When the team's on a bad run, somebody needs to be singled out, sadly most of the time it's me.”

Despite feeling he is sometimes the target of unfair criticism, Özil also revealed that the backing he receives from Arsenal’s supporters leaves him feeling ‘proud’.

The former Real Madrid playmaker is particularly fond of the chant that the Emirates has devised for him, based on Billy Ra Cyrus’ ‘Achy Breaky Heart’.

"You know what made me proud? That day, the Arsenal fans texted the Özil song," he said of the chant. "I've never experienced anything like it at any other club.  It gives me goose bumps every time the fans sing that song.”

On the subject of his long-term future, Özil admitted that “everything is still open”, while also stressing that he enjoys playing for Arsenal.

When questioned on the prospect of a move to Bayern Munich, the Bundesiga champions, he said: “I don't want to exclude that. Many family members - my mother especially - would welcome it if I were closer to home.”

“I still have a year on my contract and I love running for this club. At the moment, everything is still open.”

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