Mezut Ozil To Real Madrid: Barcelona Still the Team To Beat in Spain

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Mezut Ozil To Real Madrid: Barcelona Still the Team To Beat in Spain
Phil Cole/Getty Images

It's the news of the week in European football: Real Madrid has signed Mezut Ozil.

The most baffling part, however, is that there seems to be a belief among Real Madrid fans (also common to all Barcelona haters) that now, with Ozil, Real Madrid are somehow the favorites to win the 2010-11 La Liga.

Well, there's no doubt that Ozil is an excellent player and that he has a very bright future ahead of him, but the idea that his signing instantly makes Real Madrid the team to beat is laughable at best.

If I didn't know any better, I'd think Real Madrid had just bought the best player in the whole world, what with all the hype that has been surrounding this move.

But the truth is very different: Ozil is just a 21-year-old (inexperienced) midfielder who wouldn't even have a spot in Barcelona's lineup (rumour has it that Guardiola turned down his signing). He still has a lot to learn before he can even hold a candle to the likes of Xavi and Iniesta, undisputed starters in Barcelona's midfield.

The signing of Ozil might no doubt have a tremendous impact in the future, but there's no way he will be the one shifting the balance of power in Spain this season.

Barcelona are still the better team and the odds-on favorites to win La Liga. After all, we are talking about a team with the best player in the world (Lionel Messi) plus the core of the Spanish national team that has won the Euro 2008 and the World Cup 2010 (defeating Ozil's Germany on their way to the title). A team that won six titles in 2009 and La Liga in 2010. It'd foolish to say Barcelona are not favorites.

Ozil will probably get a lot of playing time in Madrid, especially now that Kaka is sidelined. It is expected that he will have some good performances, but he is still a player in development, so a full season at the highest level can't be expected of him. In fact, it's only natural that Ozil loses playing time as soon as Kaka, a far more accomplished player, recovers from his injury.

Mezut Ozil is a very talented player with a bright future ahead of him, but his signing in no way changes the current balance of power in Spanish football: Barcelona is still the team to beat, both in La Liga and in the Champions League.

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