Football News

Ronaldo might still be at Real had Ozil stayed to fill the Modric role – Mertesacker

By Harry Edwards

Published: 17:00, 8 May 2019

Real Madrid might have had a chance of keeping Cristiano Ronaldo last summer if Mesut Ozil was still at the club, according to Per Mertesacker

Ozil left Madrid for Arsenal in 2013, linking up with Germany team-mate Mertesacker, with Ronaldo following suit in 2018 to sign for Juventus.

Could Real Madrid have kept Ronaldo? Five key things to know…

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo left Real Madrid in 2018, joining Juventus.
  2. The Portuguese international helped the Old Lady win their eighth-consecutive Serie A title in his first season.
  3. Meanwhile, Real Madrid have had a poor season across all competitions.
  4. And Per Mertesacker believes Real may have kept Ronaldo if Mesut Ozil was still at the club.
  5. Ozil is currently at Arsenal though his future is in doubt after a subpar season.

The Portuguese star has already settled in at Juventus, helping Massimiliano Allegri’s men win an eighth-consecutive Serie A title – a record for the longest streak in Europe’s top five leagues.

Meanwhile, after initially proving integral to Arsenal, Ozil’s influence appears to have waned especially since Unai Emery took charge. The German is often the recipient of criticism from fans, but Mertesacker still believes Ozil improves Arsenal.

“Mesut makes Arsenal a better team when he is in top form,” Mertesacker told DAZN. “With his offensive strengths, he could improve every European team.

“What he certainly has to work on is his play when without the ball. European-level teams know exactly how to defend, which positions they need to be in.

“Mesut is offensively, for me, one of the top players and can make the difference in games. For him, it would have been good to play for many years at a club – more than just five, six years.

“Then he would have had the chance to grow into the role of Luka Modric.

“But even a Modric struggles to maintain his level after a top year. It would have been a big challenge for Mesut. But Ronaldo might have stayed with Real because he would always get the best assists [from Ozil].”

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Ozil pledges immediate future to Arsenal

In January 2018 Ozil’s future at Arsenal was in doubt, with the German’s contract dangerously close to running out. But he would sign a new three-and-a-half-year deal at the end of the month making him the club’s highest-earning player.

Just over a year on, Ozil’s future is in doubt once more, this time due to a lack of playing time under new manager Emery. But the German has previously revealed he has no intentions of leaving Arsenal this summer.

“Yes absolutely,” he told reporters when asked if he will be at Arsenal next season.

“I have two years left on my contract. I don’t know about after that but yes, absolutely. I’m 30 now and I’ve still got two years in front of me and what happens after that I don’t know myself.”

Despite the criticism sent Ozil’s way over the season, the German remains Arsenal’s most creative player in the Premier League.

Ozil has created 45 chances in the league this season in 1,741 minutes of playing time – Granit Xhaka is next for Arsenal with 40 coming from 2,501 minutes. However, only two of Ozil’s 45 created chances have resulted in assists.