Mesut Ozil’s agent Erkut Sogut has opened up about the difficulties of handling the media.
Ozil is one of the most polarising players in football today and is a constant target for the media.
His agent, Erkut Sogut, feels that one of the biggest obstacles in his line of work is dealing with the media and protecting his clients from undue criticism.
In an interview with Goal.com, he recalled one incident involving Ozil after a defeat to Bayern Munich back in October 2014.
“It was my first experience with the paparazzi,” Sogut said.
“It was after the Bayern game, when Mesut missed a penalty. He was very upset and they [paparazzi] were waiting right in front of the house. While we were driving out, we saw the photographer put his hand on the wing mirror, push his arm against it and said ‘Ow!’ We couldn’t believe it and thought he was joking.
“But the police even made Mesut an alcohol test and they checked the cameras on the street. The photographer then sold the story to the papers at a time when Mesut wasn’t playing well.
“But this is how it is with Mesut: some people love him; some hate him. He’s a very polarising footballer but you have that with a lot of footballers.”
Ozil came in for heavy criticism again when Arsenal lost 5-1 to Bayern last February in the Champions League.
Sogut has said that he’s not against players being criticised for their performances, but feels it can go too far when a single player is blamed for a whole team performance.
“I was watching the game and Bayern had 77 per cent possession,” he said.
“They were controlling the game and Mesut was playing in the No.10 position. We were never in that position in the game. He was picked out as the scapegoat.
“Why are the defenders conceding five goals then? If we can’t win in Munich, then we don’t lose. There’s no excuse for collapsing – when you play in Munich you play compact and defensively. We played so openly and I just said that he didn’t play well like the rest of the team, but why did the defence concede five goals?
“But the main target right away was Mesut Ozil. I felt that I had to protect my client. I thought about making a statement the whole night because I felt a feeling that I had to take the pressure off, which was the right thing to do at that time.
“Criticism is fine when the players play badly but that was used as an excuse for the poor team performance.
“But, in this world, even if you get down, then you get up again because nobody gives you anything for free.”
The criticism of Ozil has continued into what could be his final season with the club.
He was targeted for his performance in the 1-0 defeat against Stoke and in the 3-2 defeat against Watford.
Every big game defeat is also attributed to him and what he didn’t do, rather than the failings of his teammates.
It was this treatment that prompted Ozil to release a statement earlier in the season urging ex-players to stop talking and start supporting.