Former Real Madrid favourite Mesut Ozil has spoke of how he almost joined fierce rivals Barcelona, only to be left disappointed by the approach from Pep Guardiola.
Ozil called time on an illustrious playing career earlier this week, as the former Real Madrid and Arsenal favourite announced his immediate retirement from professional football.
The World Cup winning German enjoyed a three year spell in Spain between 2010-2013, leaving Bundesliga side Werden Bremen for Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid.
But things could’ve looked awfully different for the midfielder, who has revealed that he had considered joining Barcelona, only to be left disappointed by an underwhelming approach by Pep Guardiola.
In an interview with Spanish newspaper Marca, Ozil spoke of a “VIP visit to Real Madrid” which peaked his interest in a move to the Bernabeu:
“It was a decision between Real Madrid and Barcelona. 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.
Thank you ❤️ pic.twitter.com/Aqr4pB5SI2
— Mesut Özil (@M10) March 22, 2023
By contrast, the 34-year-old spoke of his disappointment in Barcelona’s approach, particularly that of manager Pep Guardiola, who he claims didn’t bother to meet him during negotiations over a move:
“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.”
Ozil would go on to win three trophies during his spell in the Spanish capital, including a solitary LaLiga crown during the 2011/12 season.
The German maestro left the club ahead of the 2013/14 campaign, joining Premier League side Arsenal, where he quickly established himself as a fan favourite, helping the side to four FA Cup’s during an eight year stay in North London.
Short stints at Fenerbahce and Istanbul Basakeshir would follow, however Ozil pulled the plug on his playing days earlier this week,citing that“having also suffered some injuries, it’s becominng more and more clear that it’s time to leave the big stage of football.”