Arsenal's Mesut Ozil rejects idea of return to Real Madrid
By Matthew Treadwell
Last Updated: 01/04/16 11:26am
Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil admits he has a lot of respect for Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane, but has ruled out a return to the Bernabeu.
The Germany international joined the Gunners from Real for £42.5m in September 2013 and has scored 19 goals in 109 appearances for Arsene Wenger's side.
Ozil has recently been forced to deny suggestions that he is keen on a return to La Liga, with some sections of the Spanish media claiming he will leave the Emirates in the summer if Wenger remains in charge.
The 27-year-old, who played in Germany's 3-2 friendly home defeat to England on Saturday, was full of praise for Zidane, though, while remaining keen to distance himself from any suggestion he is unhappy with life at Arsenal.
"Zidane was an amazing player. He did not just play football, but lived for the game," Ozil told German sport website spox.com.
"I got to know him after his active career as someone who is always willing to lend a hand.
"But that does not say anything about my future. I am only thinking about Arsenal. There is no truth in the speculation linking me with a return to Spain.
"I have watched a lot of games involving Zidane. He was one of the cleverest players in the world.
"He was able to read the game and direct play without any unnecessary tricks and showboating. That's what makes him so special."
Ozil was equally enthused by Andrea Pirlo, but insisted playing in a more withdrawn position like the Italy legend is not an option for him.
"Pirlo is someone who is almost at the same level as Zidane," he added. "He might have been slightly more defensive, but was always calling the shots on the pitch.
"I cannot see myself play in Pirlo's role, though. I see myself more as a playmaker or a classic number 10.
"I have to play high up the pitch and create chances. That is my best position. You will not see me play as a holding midfielder any time soon."