Mesut Ozil: 5 Reasons the Real Madrid Midfielder Is Set for a Stellar Season
The then-20-year-old had big boots to fill, yet he surpassed all expectations for the Bundesliga club.
World Cup 2010 is where Ozil really made his name—becoming one of the standout players of the tournament, he signed for Real Madrid soon after.
Flash forward to 2013 and Ozil is considered to be one of the best creative midfielders in the modern game. He is a true No. 10 who, at 24, still has years ahead of him.
The German international showed patches of inconsistency last season. He got off to a slow start and soon found himself in and out of Jose Mourinho's starting XI.
The second half of the season saw things improve (on the pitch, at least) and Ozil ended up creating the most clear-cut chances of any player in Europe's top five leagues.
With a new manager and a World Cup on the horizon, there are plenty of reasons to suggest that Ozil could be in for a stellar season with Real Madrid.
Read on to find out why!
Goodbye Mourinho, Hello Ancelotti
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Last season was a mess at Real Madrid. If there was a prize for how much dirty laundry could be aired in public, Los Blancos would have run away with it as undisputed winners.
Despite having some of the world's best players at their disposal, a prolonged case of in-fighting ensured that Madrid were going to end the season bereft of silverware.
The Bernabeu didn't look like a happy place to be, and Jose Mourinho's relationship with the La Liga side ended bitterly.
This season, Carlo Ancelotti is at the helm of the club. After stints at Juventus, AC Milan, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain, the Italian is no stranger to boardroom politics and keeping star players in check.
Ancelotti looks like he will steady the ship that had become mutinous under Mourinho's rule.
Ozil can only benefit from the change in management, with stories about team bust-ups all too common last term.
The 24-year-old has already commented on a "bright future" under Ancelotti, as reported here on ESPNFC.com.
The Arrival of Isco
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Isco's arrival can only improve Ozil's game. Although they are both better suited to a playmaker's role, the pair can both also operate on the wing.
No one is going to dispossess Cristiano Ronaldo of his role on the left-hand side of the pitch anytime soon, so Isco and Ozil look set to rotate between the CAM role and out wide.
"I don't mind where I play, although the right wing isn't my position—I prefer playing through the middle, where I can be creative," Ozil said on ESPNFC.com.
If Ozil is injured, Isco can deputise and vice versa. Ancelotti is certain to experiment with his formation, he began the season with a 4-3-3 against Real Betis, with Ozil playing to the right of Karim Benzema and Isco used on the left wing, alongside Sami Khedira. Isco scored on his debut in the 2-1 win.
Perhaps the Italian will revert to a 4-2-3-1, the system favoured by Mourinho, or try out the 4-2-2-2 that he used at Paris Saint-Germain.
Whatever the combination, the competition for a starting berth in midfield can only be a good thing for Madrid. And a terrifying prospect for anyone who plays them.
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It seems that every midfielder worth his salt is being linked with Manchester United this summer.
United fans continue to hope that Ronaldo will make a heroes return to Old Trafford, but Ozil has become the latest midfielder rumoured to be on his way to David Moyes' side, as seen in Jack de Menezes' article in the Independent.
Should Ronaldo and Ozil stay where they are, the pair look set to have another incredible season.
When Ronaldo was being linked with a move away from the Bernabeu, Ozil was vocal in his hopes that the Portuguese would stay, as reported by CNN.com.
The German international wants to continue playing with Ronaldo for very good reason. Together they are the most successful goalscoring duo that Real Madrid have had this century.
As reported on the club's official website, the two players make up the partnership that has scored the most goals in La Liga since the year 2000.
Proof alone that Los Blancos would be crazy to let either of them go.
Zizou's Coaching Advice
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Zinedine Zidane really needs no introduction.
The World Cup-winning midfielder spent five years at Real Madrid, where he won La Liga, the Champions League and the title of FIFA World Player of the Year. For the third time.
One of the best midfielders of all time, the 41-year-old has held the role of sporting director at Madrid since 2011. In addition, Zizou will take on a coaching role at the Bernabeu this season.
Often dubbed as the "German Zidane," Ozil has been likened to the Frenchman in the past.
"He was my hero," Ozil told German newspaper Bild, via ESPNFC.com. "As a boy I admired his skills on television and I tried to copy them. I'm honoured by the comparison."
Already one of the best No. 10s in the world, if Zidane has anything to do with it, Ozil is about to get even better.
A World Cup on the Horizon
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With World Cup 2014 fast approaching, Ozil will be certain to have an outstanding season for Real Madrid.
Germany, like Madrid, have a wealth of midfield talent to choose from and Joachim Low has been trying to find a way to fit Ozil and Bayern Munich's Mario Gotze into the same side.
He has even fielded two No. 10s at times, trying to utilize them both for their best characteristic—playmaking.
Ozil started all of Germany’s matches in South Africa in 2010, where he was nominated for the Golden Ball. An incredible achievement in his first World Cup.
Ozil has 47 caps for the senior German team where he has scored 14 goals and registered 24 assists.
In 2010, a 21-year-old Ozil was a burgeoning talent. Now he's a bona fide star. Expect him to go all-out in La Liga this season to demonstrate why Low should have him as first-choice No. 10 in Brazil next summer.