Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil recently stated his belief that he could become a Ballon d’Or winner soon, as he feels he’s finally acclimatising to the physicality of the Premier League. The German international, 26, came under criticism in his first season at the Emirates, but has started to look more like a player worth £42.5M in recent weeks. He feels such improvement could see him back as the world’s best playmaker, and ultimately a Ballon d’Or winner.
“If I continue to develop well and stay healthy, I would like, in the next few years, to hold the Ballon d’Or in my hands. I am convinced that it can happen. I’m feeling very positive. I’m a world champion and I play at a top club in the Premier League. There is much more of a physical test here than there is in Spain or in the Bundesliga – I constantly have bruises, but that makes me harder. I feel physically better than ever,” he said.
Arsenal supporters were in disbelief when the World Cup winner made the move from Real Madrid to London, but such elation turned into frustration following his performances. At Real, the Spaniards were known for their counter-attacking style, which always saw the German as the focal point creatively. He was always driving forward with the ball and making a hosts of assists as a result of such possession in the final third. But with Arsenal, the build-up play is a lot slower and more patient, and Ozil receives a lot of the ball in areas he struggles to influence the games from.
He has a long way to go to win the supporters over fully, let alone be recognised on the world scale for his performances, and manager Arsene Wenger may not be too pleased that Ozil has such a high opinion of himself. He has been better recently, but hasn’t come close to matching the impact of many former starts at the Emirates, so to be discussing aspirations of winning the Ballon d’Or is incredibly premature.
Mesut Ozil has a lot to prove for the Londoners, and performance levels in the big games is something supporters have long been waiting for. He was signed to take the club in a new direction, but has arguably been a player holding them back at times. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) and Lionel Messi (Barcelona) have been fighting for the last few Ballon d’Or awards, and the Arsenal man is currently miles away from the duo. He’s not even the Gunners’ best performing star in 2015.
Is Ozil deluded with his Ballon d’Or aspirations?