Nacho Monreal says there is no rift between Mesut Ozil and Arsenal head coach Unai Emery, while defending his team-mate over “unfair” treatment.
Ozil has endured a tempestuous 2018, a controversial photograph with Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan overshadowing the build-up to the World Cup.
After Germany’s shock group-stage exit at Russia 2018, the 29-year-old stepped away from international duty citing a “feeling of racism and disrespect”.
Returning to club duty provided little respite, with Ozil struggling to make an impact for Arsenal under new boss Emery, who was forced to deny reports of a training-ground row between the pair after the playmaker missed their Premier League defeat of West Ham.
Monreal, though, dismissed the speculation Emery and Ozil do not get on and suggested his colleague is unnecessarily in the spotlight.
“People have been a bit unfair with him,” the Spain defender said.
“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.”
— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) September 2, 2018
Ozil has been named one of Emery’s captains, a decision Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness – a regular critic of the former Real Madrid man – described as a “miracle”.
Monreal defended Ozil against accusations he lacks the leadership qualities to wear the armband for the Premier League side.
“People must understand that every player is completely different,” Monreal said.
“He is like that [reserved] and 10 years ago he was the same. So you can’t expect on the pitch that he starts to fight, to talk with the referee because he never did it. He is not going to change in this case.
“The important thing is he plays at his highest level, gives a lot of assists, scores a lot of goals and basically helps the team. That’s what he knows. He doesn’t know how to go up to a player and grab him by the throat.”
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