According to the Daily Mirror, former player Robert Pires has announced that German midfielder is a ‘magician’
which is something that no one can dispute on a good day.
“He hasn’t started many games [recently] because he’s been injured with a small back problem. But now, the most important thing is to see Mesut in the line-up,”
Well, yes, it is actually good to see Ozil back in the fray, having seemingly ended his spat with Unai Emery.
“He’s very clever, he can make good assists and sometimes he can score.
For me, he’s like Dennis Bergkamp, he’s a magician, a maestro.”
Ah, now wait a minute, slow down a second.
Perhaps Pires saw too much sun in the UAE where Arsenal took on and narrowly beat Al-Nasr or he’d had too many drinks on the flight over, because Ozil is not in the same class as Dennis Bergkamp. Not even close.
It’s the second time in a week that I’ve felt compelled to make a case for the Dutchman, who has, for some reason fallen off most people’s radar.
Ozil is a fine player who has extraordinary vision and the deftest of touches. He is blessed with sublime skills without question but one has to draw the line at any comparison to Bergkamp.
It’s odd to think that some of Arsenal’s younger fans know the name but can only reflect on what they missed on via YouTube.
What they missed was a hell of a lot.
Bergkamp made his name at Ajax and later went to Inter Milan, where he suffered indifferent form. It was his good fortune to arrive at Arsenal in 1995, with the silky, persuasive powers of David Dein still ringing in his ears because he was about to embark on the most creative and productive period of his club career.
In 1996, Bergkamp linked up with Arsene Wenger and so began a beautiful journey of sensational football with numerous world class talents including Pires himself.
He was to play with the likes of Anelka, Vieira, Petit, Overmars,Ljungberg and Henry in a period where Arsenal, in footballing terms, where the best club in the World.
Bergkamp had been labelled as a striker throughout his career but he became so much more, he was the conductor that called the tune and to those around him, an inspiration.
He would often hang back, look for players making a run or carve out openings for others in space that didn’t exist.
He wasn’t a prolific scorer but when he scored, it was normally something magnificent or audacious and well worth the admission fee. His hat trick against a Leicester in 1997 contained two absolute stunners.
If that doesn’t convince you, then you perhaps the superb solo effort against Sunderland in the same year is more to your liking and if you need further persuading, then the 2002 goal against Newcastle is the one to clinch the deal.
Match of the Day’s goal of the month for August 1997 were all scored by Bergkamp, the only occasion when one player has claimed all three top spots in the competitions history.
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Bergkamp was also a provider, people ooze about Ozil’s assists but the Dutchman was known for his passing ability in tight spaces and was blessed with exceptional vision.
He formed a number of key partnerships but none were more profitable than the one he had with Thierry Henry.
Bergkamp was a keen observer of his fellow players and would avidly watch them in training. He was learning every nuance of his colleagues, which allowed him to predict their movements and almost form a type of telepathy to link up with them on the pitch.
I am not over egging this and making him sound better than he was because I’m wearing rose tinted spectacles, he was a truly brilliant player.
Ozil, as we know can frustrate because he has a range of superb skills at his disposal but he is absolutely, categorically, one thousand percent, not like Dennis Bergkamp.
Every now and again, a talent emerges that has an impact on you as a fan. There are a few that come to mind Best, Cruyff, Pele, Maradona, Ronaldo and Messi. For me, Bergkamp deserves to be mentioned in that class.
Not for his goals but for the art of his football, for the sheer eye pleasing aesthetic of his performances and his ability to make you leave a match wondering how he did what you had just witnessed.
Peter Hill-Wood, the late Arsenal Chairman said Bergkamp was his favourite player and in 2014, Arsenal unveiled a statue ‘The Icon’ depicting Bergkamp at full stretch, taking control of the ball.
Sadly, Ozil will never be regarded in those terms and will certainly never be cast in bronze outside the Emirates.
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