Arsenal's Mesut Ozil 'convinced' he can lift prestigious Ballon d'Or despite criticism

Mesut Ozil believes he can win the Ballon d’Or in the next few years and says criticism from pundits only motivates him more.

The Germany international has featured in just 14 Premier League matches this season due to injuries but has shown signs of improvement in recent weeks.

Ozil now "feels physically better than ever" because of the bruising nature of England's top division and is set on becoming the best player in the world.

"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," Ozil told Sport Bild. "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."

Ozil has come in for criticism for some of his performances, former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes writing in The Independent that moving to the Emirates was the "easy option" for the German.

"He's entitled to say that," said Ozil. "He wants to polarise as a pundit on TV. But in the end, such statements only give me an extra push."

Ozil has also spoken about the way he is constantly reminded of his Turkish heritage when playing for Germany.

"Only I am designated as ‘the German-Turk’. When it’s Sami Khedira no one says ‘the German-Tunisian’, no one calls Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose ‘the German-Poles’. Many forget that I was born in Gelsenkirchen, and grew up in Germany," he said.

"If I don’t sing the anthem (before games) it is only because at that moment I am concentrating on the match. And I pray during the anthem for health and happiness."

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