Interview

When Mesut Ozil met Zinedine Zidane

For as long as he can remember, Mesut Ozil has idolised Zinedine Zidane.

Our playmaker grew up pretending to be the legendary Frenchman in the cage where he was brought up, and would even buy shirts with Zidane’s name and number on the back.
 
So how did Ozil react when he finally met his hero upon joining Real Madrid back in 2010?
 
“I was really nervous, happy and thankful as well because Madrid was such a huge club,” he told Arsenal Player. “I had dreamed of playing there because my idol, Zinedine Zidane, played for them as well.
 
“My first day over there with Mourinho and all my team-mates, of course when you’re a new player in the dressing room you’re a bit quiet and nervous because big players were there at the big club. I was especially nervous when I met Zinedine Zidane, that was the highlight for me.

Mesut Ozil and Zinedine Zidane

Mesut sits behind his idol on the Real Madrid bench

“It was in the dressing room. Mourinho took him to the first team as his assistant coach. He was in the dressing room, so of course my hands were sweating. You want to try to speak to him, but he was actually really relaxed as a person. He was really calm and I really enjoyed my first meeting with him.
 
“Of course I had a lot things in my head. I was thinking about the time when I was young with my friends, I would buy his shirt and play as him in the cage where I was brought up.
 
“The feeling was very positive but still I was only a young player at 20 or 21, something like that. My team-mates know that I’m a really calm person in the dressing room who doesn’t speak too much, just do my work and relax, so I was just nervous to meet him.”

Our legends will take on Real Madrid's at Emirates Stadium on Saturday - and tickets are still available here