Real boss explains controversial sale of star player.
Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has explained his decision to keep Angel Di Maria at the club at the expense of Mesut Ozil, ESPN reports.
Although Ancelotti is preparing for one of the biggest games of the season this weekend as his side face fierce rivals Barcelona in El Clasico at the Nou Camp, the Italian has been quizzed once again on the controversial sale of Ozil to Arsenal in the summer.
The German playmaker moved to the Emirates Stadium in a £42.4m deal, much to the surprise of his Real Madrid team-mates and many media pundits.
Ozil had been a highly influential player for Real Madrid since he joined the club from Werder Bremen in 2010, but Ancelotti has explained that he preferred the overall contribution to the team of Argentine winger Di Maria, who had also been linked with a move away from the Bernabeu towards the end of the transfer window.
With the £85m arrival of Gareth Bale from Tottenham, Real were looking to offload one player in that part of the team, and although the former PSG boss believes Ozil may be a technically superior player, he made the decision to let him go in order to keep Di Maria.
“Yes, that was a football decision,” Ancelotti said. “For the balance of the team I preferred to have Di Maria.
“He has less quality than Ozil but I wanted him for his character and his help for the team.
“With Bale’s arrival I believe it is more important to have Di Maria than Ozil, looking at the balance of the team.”
Ozil’s fine displays at Arsenal since joining the club have only led to further surprise at Real Madrid’s decision to allow him to leave.