Nacho Monreal has rallied behind Arsenal’s number 10, Mesut Ozil, after the German international’s turbulent summer.
Ozil found himself the scapegoat for Germany’s shock exit from the World Cup in Russia after he was photographed with controversial Turkish President Recep Erdoğan.
After missing Arsenal’s victory over Cardiff due to illness, Monreal sought to rebuff claims of a fall-out with new boss Unai Emery.
“People have been a bit unfair with him,” he said in the Evening Standard.
“He is a very famous player and obviously people love talking about him. Recently, it is always bad things.
“Like last time, he was sick and that’s why he didn’t play. People started to invent that he had a problem with the manager.
“It wasn’t like that. He got a cold, he was sick, that’s it. That’s why he didn’t play.”
After triumph at Brazil 2014, Germany exited the group stage at the summers’ World Cup for the first time in their history.
Despite statistically being one of Germany’s more productive players, Ozil was singled out by the press as well as football administrators in Germany as the reason for their exit.
His controversial photo with the Turkish president was the bedrock of these criticisms, which eventually led to Özil quitting the national team duty citing racism.
Scrutiny did not abate when playing for Arsenal this season, with detractors again singling out Ozil after Arsenal lost their two opening games, to Manchester City and Chelsea FC.
Much of the criticism is unfounded, but is often levelled at Ozil due to his drifting style, despite statistics suggesting he is a vital part of any team he plays in.
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