Introverts in Football

“Ozil, Ronaldo and football’s distrust of introverts”:

Wenger nailed it when he said recently: “You always see a good Ozil when you watch the game again”. There is no doubt that the playmaker has disappointed on occasion since he moved to the Premier League. Yet take the trouble to watch him closely, and you’ll be rewarded by a magic show, which would explain why he is held in such esteem by the world’s leading coaches.

You’ll notice how often he delivers the pre-assist for big goals, as he did against Besiktas. You’ll see that, in some of his most crucial interventions, he scarcely touches the ball, gently caressing it rather than kicking it. You’ll notice that he rarely looks at the player he is going to pass to, nor offers any hints of his plans with his posture, strategies that are infuriating for opponents. His sleight of foot is truly bewitching.

You’ll also come to understand what a selfless player Ozil is. He creates space for his team-mates and makes those around him look much better, paying the price when perceptions of him suffer in comparison. Yet, true to the instinct of the introvert, he wouldn’t dream of drawing attention to his contribution.