Arsene Wenger – experienced tactician, preacher of beautiful football and an all round cool customer.
All that considered, you’d like to think he would know when one of his own players was nominated for the biggest individual award in world football.
Well, he certainly did and, unbelievably, he got it all wrong.
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One of the most notable admissions from the 30-man Ballon d’Or nominee list proved Arsenal’s very own Mesut Ozil.
Despite the playmaker experiencing one of his finest calendar years yet, he was beaten onto the list by players such as Rui Patricio and Koke. It was certainly a kick in the teeth for the almost flawless 28-year-old.
However, Arsene Wenger didn’t get the memo. In fact, the Frenchman falsely believed that Ozil had been nominated for the award and went off on a now deeply embarrassing tangent about the competition.
According to the Daily Mail, the Frenchman barreled into saying: “Certainly there is a big satisfaction for him and for us as well, but I am against it because I think it gets in the head of players.”
“We have seen many people only thinking about themselves because they are obsessed by Ballon d'Or and not by the team performance and I believe football is a collective sport and we live already in a world where everything is individualised.
“We want to respect what football is about, first about the team effort.
“Of course, I encourage and congratulate the players who do well and I'm happy for that.
“But when you look at the history you do not always think that it has been the most objective decision always and I think that the players who are the best, we know very well about them.
“Let's take care of those who are not as much in the glory. The best - we know all about them.”
Skip to 9:00 to see the hilarious incident in the video below:
Wenger certainly speaks a lot of sense here and puts great impetus on how the Ballon d’Or encourages players to be individuals as opposed to team players. Nevertheless, the whole reason he got onto the topic in the first place was on the false premise that Ozil was in the running.
While this is a rather understandable gaffe, it proves extremely awkward to look back on now.
It’s highly unlikely that this snub as well his manager’s misguided congratulations will prove of great detriment to Ozil though.
The 28-year-old has been in brilliant form this season and has played an integral role in Arsenal’s seven month purple patch. In addition, Ozil has even improved his shooting and with six goals already is set for his most prolific year yet.
Besides, if Arsenal are to come close to winning the league title, they’ll need their chief creator to be fit and firing. Simply put, on his day, there are few better than Ozil, Ballon d’Or nomination or not.
Do you think Mesut Ozil deserved a Ballon d'Or nomination? Have YOUR say in the comment box below