Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti has suggested that Mesut Ozil left the Spanish giants to join Arsenal because he was scared off by increased competition for places at the Bernabeu.
The Germany international, widely recognised as one of Europe's best playmakers, joined Arsenal in a deal worth £42.4m in the final days of the summer transfer window.
And Ancelotti, who joined Real Madrid after leaving Paris Saint-Germain the summer, feels Ozil did not feel assured following the arrival of several new players, including record-signing Gareth Bale.
“Ozil wasn’t comfortable," Ancelotti was quoted as saying by World Soccer. "I knew he’d been speaking with another club because he wanted to leave. Mesut understood that he had competition, that he wouldn’t be able to play every game, and ‘I’m off’ was his answer.”
As well as Bale, Real Madrid also spent big money in the summer on Spanish attacking midfielder Isco from Malaga and the impressive Asier Illarramendi from Real Sociedad.
These high-profile acquisitions left Ozil faced with the prospect of spending time on the Real Madrid bench, although he was still considered an important first-team player for the nine-time European champions.
Indeed, Ozil made two appearances for Real Madrid under Ancelotti before accepting Arsenal's offer at the beginning of September.
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