Often the acquisition of a star performer from a major international tournament does not quite live up to its billing on the tin. Perhaps over-hyped expectation and perennial pressure share a fair hand in deciding upon the fate of how a ‘one hit wonder’, to steal an overused concoction, will fair in their date with footballing infancy. But, for a certain 21-year old visionary playmaker, these sentiments would look to be substantially wide of the mark.
Mesut Ozil, the incessant brains behind a finely oiled, disciplined and rejuvenated German World Cup side in South Africa completed a £12.4m move (a deal not as costly as first touted due to the Gelsenkirchen born player only having one year left on his then Werder Bremen contract) to Jose Mourinho’s international laden Real Madrid squad, in a summer where much towing and throwing, will he or won’t he and to what country the slightly built Ozil would be plying his trade this season.
Tipped by many to be lured to Manchester United earlier this month, the German orchestrator yesterday became Los Blancos’s final summer signing, completing a pre season which will see Ozil link up with compatriot Sami Khedira, and fellow World Cup prodigy, Argentine wide-man Angel di Maria. In stylistic Real Madrid fashion, the club’s unveiling of Ozil could only be presented to the assembled media structured under meticulous preparation, where a required medical, signing of his Santiago Bernabeu contract and a quick fire introduction to his new colleagues in a late-night Valdebebas training session in the sweltering Madrid heat all greeted him.
The Whites Sporting Director, Jorge Valdano, has now ‘closed’ Real Madrid’s euro millions pot for this summer. The clubs eagerness to pen Ozil to paper in a move they claimed they could not lose out on, has now left the Portuguese master tactician Mourinho with a problem on his hands; to trim down a highly assembled squad, which is just overflowing in terms of Fifa’s new rosta rule. Defensive midfielders, both Diarra’s, Lass and Mahamadou could depart Spain, along with fellow central midfielder Fernando Gago. One, who Mourinho would deem a more important asset, would be Dutchman Rafael van der Vaart. The World Cup attacker has conjured up interest from England but his experience and knack to come to the fore at crucial moments (last season’s 93rd minute winner at home to Sevilla) might just tempt Mourinho to hang on to Real Madrid’s number 23, who incidentally started last season without a squad number.
Among the exit door of players, Brazilian Kaka will not be one of them, for the short term future at least. However, the man who along with Cristiano Ronaldo was the talk of the terrace, this time last term, following his mega-money move from Serie A outfit AC Milan has since faded in the footballing graveyard, which can be a thesis used to describe the Santiago Bernabeu from time to time due to the pure weight of footfall. Kaka, incumbently, is nursing the Valdebebas injury table with a knee injury sidelining him for up to three months, but there is more to the former Sao Paulo’s stars time out of the game than meets the roaming journalistic eye.
Ozil, a player whom principally operates in a similar position to Kaka, has years on his side, a better relationship with the form book and a chance to cement himself as a fixture in Mourinho’s team as a result of the Brazil players injury, after all Ozil is the Portuguese’s capture and Kaka is not, despite the latter’s obvious career credentials to date. It is a stern test of Kaka’s mentality to bounce back especially after a less than impressive and second consecutive disappointing World Cup with his country. There is one more youngster whom is chomping at the bait, also, in his attempt to live up to the billing as one of European footballs most desirable youngsters. Sergio Canales, the 19-year-old Madrid player, a pre-summer purchase whereby Los Blancos stole the youth phenomenon from Racing de Santander, has featured heavily in the Whites pre-season where Mourinho has opted for the use of two natural wide-men and the occasional player dropping off slightly from a pacy front man, usually Gonzalo Higuain.
Mesut Ozil promptly described Jose Mourinho as ‘the best Coach in the world’ following his move and after protracted talks to secure his signature, the attacking architect looks well set to be Real Madrid’s go-to man next season, taking a bout of heaviness off of Ronaldo. Los Blancos, seem to have affirmed their formulaic preparations for the new campaign in terms of personal, and with Ozil now able to put on another white jersey, the balance of a midfield possibly with the make-up of Khedira, Xabi Alonso, di Maria, Ozil and Ronaldo looks formidable on paper and if there is a Coach who is able to gel a group of individuals quickly, it would be Mourinho. Germany star Ozil, with all the added Madrid ingredients to his armoury looks set and ready to be the new focal point of Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid.