It should never have worked.
A manager famed for his devotion to discipline and a majestic midfielder better suited the bygone era of luxury playmakers.
Yet the three year partnership between Mesut Ozil and Jose Mourinho did work. But did the German play the best football of his career under Mourinho?
Tell us about the goals he scored
Across Ozil’s 15-year career he’s reached double figures for club goals on four occasions.
The most goals he’s scored was actually last season, for Arsenal, when he scored 12 times, with the 11 he got for Werder Bremen in the 2009/10 campaign his second highest tally.
Both the other times Ozil reached double figures were under Mourinho, when he finished the 2011/12 and 2012/13 campaigns with ten goals.
We should point out that these two goal-laden seasons coincided with the most games Ozil completed in a campaign.
Okay, but Ozil is all about assisting right?
The most assists Ozil has in a season? Twenty-three, in his first season under Mourinho at Madrid.
That season he also finished with the most assists in the Champions League.
The next highest? Twenty, in the following campaign, which was his first in Madrid’s no.10 shirt.
He ended that season with the most assists in La Liga. In short, he was an attacker’s dream under Mourinho.
Did his goals and assists count for anything though?
Ozil finished his time at Madrid with a La Liga title, Copa del Rey trophy and Spanish Super Cup.
Not necessarily a trophy haul to force you into buying a new cabinet, but not too shabby.
Compare that to his time at Werder Bremen, when he won a single German Cup, or at Arsenal, where he’s got three FA Cups and a Community Shield, and Madrid comes out on top.
As a side note, Ozil also recorded his highest Ballon d’Or finish under Mourinho. That’s why you’ll find an ’11th Best Player in the World’ trophy on his mantelpiece.
Let’s get a quick word about his Germany form under Mourinho
Ozil’s greatest moment in a Germany shirt was obviously the European Under-21 Championships in 2009, a year before he arrived in Madrid.
His second greatest moment was probably the World Cup win, a year after he joined Arsenal.
What we can settle on, if we’re looking for a bit of Mourinho influence, is that Ozil has never scored more international goals in a year than he did in 2012.
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I see what you’ve done, you’ve left his shocking defensive stats ’til last so we wouldn’t notice
Actually, Ozil has never had a higher tackles-per-game number than he did during the 2011/12 season.
He also racked up his highest number of interceptions-per-game during the 2010/11 Champions League campaign.
If anything, Mourinho turned him into a glorified centre-back.
So what’s the verdict?
We’ve never seen a more committed, consistent Ozil than the one that played under Mourinho.
Maybe that was due to the quality of players around him, maybe it was due to inspired man management.
Either way, you wouldn’t put it past Mourinho to schedule a reunion at Man United.