Real Madrid’s Mesut Ozil has laid down the challenge to La Liga champions Barcelona ahead of this season by claiming his side are capable of matching any team.
Real have been pipped to the Spanish league title by Barca for the last three seasons, leading to many suggesting that the Madrid-based club are no longer capable of challenging their bitter rivals.
However, Los Blancos did manage to put on over Barca when they beat them in the Copa del Rey final last season with a headed goal from Cristiano Ronaldo in extra-time.
And Ozil, who was a shining light for Real last term in his debut season at the Santiago Bernabeu, believes his team-mates have gained valuable experience over the course of the previous campaign, and are now capable of beating anyone.
“The team is more mature,” Ozil said on Real’s official website. “We felt strong in the [friendly] games we’ve already played.
“We have the potential to defeat anyone and our objective is to win many titles. We will fight for them all.”
The German international was also quick to play down rumours of a possible rivalry with fellow midfielder Kaka, who is struggling to regain his spot in the starting eleven, largely owing to Ozil’s excellent performances.
“Kaka and I have a very good personal relationship. He is a very important player to us.
“He helps the team considerably and he and all of us are aware of his enormous potential.
“I have a very good relationship with him and we need him.”
Ozil also believed new signing Nuri Sahin and compatriot Sami Khedira, both hit by injury recently, would soon be back in training and ready to contribute to Real’s cause.
“Sahin and Khedira are important to the team.
“Nuri’s been unlucky with his injury, but I’m sure they’ll both be back on August 14 and I’ll feel very happy for them.”
Ozil’s role at the Bernabeu looks set to increase this season, having been handed the number ten jersey, normally reserved for a side’s key playmaker.