If you hear about this anecdote from Mesut Özil’s forthcoming autobiography excerpted in Bild, it will probably focus on the fact that when Özil and José Mourinho were at Real Madrid, they once got into an argument in which Mourinho called Özil a coward. This is true, and pretty interesting in itself, but the full quotes from the excerpt are in fact even better than that one particular insult.
Özil takes us back to the moment of the fight, which occurred at halftime during some unspecified home game. Mourinho rants and raves, targeting Özil specifically, getting on the German for his lack of commitment to the game. From Squawka’s translation:
“You think two beautiful passes are enough… You think you’re so good that fifty percent is enough,” Mourinho tells Ozil in the book.
“He pauses. Stares at me with his dark brown eyes. I stare back. Like two boxers at the stare-down before the first round. He shows no emotion. Just waits for a response from me. How much I hate him right now. And I love Mourinho actually.”
Two breathy leads, staring daggers into each other’s eyes, intense feelings of hate and love simultaneously swirling in their hearts. We’ve all been there, or at least seen it play out on daytime TV.
The action continues on. In a huff, Özil slings his jersey in Mourinho’s direction, as if to say “Well if you’re such an expert, why don’t you go out there and give it a try?” You can almost feel Özil’s eyes smoldering just remembering it.
Mourinho doesn’t back down. It’s then that he strikes with the insult, and follows it up by painting a vivid, alluring picture of the showering process:
“Oh, are you giving up now? You’re such a coward,” Mourinho argued.
“What do you want? To creep under the beautiful, warm shower? Shampoo your hair? To be alone? Or do you want to prove to your fellow players, the fans out there, and me, what you can do.”
Ultimately, Mourinho’s motivational ploy backfired, probably because his description of the shower sounded too good to turn down. Thus Özil hit the showers and was subbed out of the match.
Was this the end of the loving part of Mourinho’s and Özil’s relationship? Did they kiss and make up later? Tune in next week for the latest edition of The Magic of the Game!