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05.09.2018 12:04
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Its no easy thing, persuading Mesut Ozil to do an interview in English, writes Sky Sports Patrick Davison. In the two-and-a-half years since he signed for Arsenal, theres been the odd word at the end of post-match interviews but basically, when hes spoken to reporters, its been in German. And even then, not very often.But, as I discovered this week, there is a way to his heart - via one man able to persuade him that sitting down for an interview might not be such a bad idea. Ozil has been in superb form for Arsenal this season Mathieu Flamini returned to Arsenal in August 2013, as it happened just a few days before Arsene Wenger pulled off one of the deals of his career and brought Ozil to the Emirates.Flamini made it his job to take the new boy under his wing and their friendship flourished - at the club awards night at the end of last season, they won Biggest Bromance.In a video announcing the award, Danny Welbeck joked that they were closer than twins, Laurent Koscielny that they followed each other everywhere, and Theo Walcott that they could occasionally be spotted enjoying a candlelit dinner.The serious side to it is that, after a slow start to his Premier League career, Flamini has helped Ozil settle and look like what he is - one of the best players in the league. Arsene Wenger signed Ozil from Real Madrid, just days after Flamini arrived When you move to a new club and a new country, at the beginning you are a little bit shy. He was the guy, with the German guys, who helped me a lot, says Ozil, who finally agreed to do the interview for this weeks Super Sunday - in English - but only if Flamini did it with him.The French midfielder, now in his seventh season with the Gunners, agreed. He thinks Ozil should do more interviews and show supporters a bit more of what hes really like.Hes very funny but hes very reserved, says Flamini. He likes to be with his close friends and his family, its then that he lets himself go.Thats why he avoids interviews, particularly in this country. Hes not arrogant, aloof or anything like that. Rather, as he says, he is shy, not fond of the limelight and thinks, wrongly, that his English isnt very good. Flamini celebrates after scoring the winner against Tottenham in the Capital One Cup this season Theres much more to him than you might guess. For example, the friendship with Flamini blossomed partly because of the Frenchmans knowledge of the capital.I love London, says Ozil, who settled off the pitch in England before he settled on it. I go to museums, parks, restaurants - all the normal things. [Flamini] is the one who helps me know where to go.Im happy to play for such a big club and happy to live in London. Often they head into London together. At the training ground, they drive each other on in the gym and stay on after sessions for a little shooting competition they have between themselves.He won today [Friday] for the first time in three years, says Ozil, revealing a little of the humour which saw him suggest on Twitter that Flamini was the rightful winner of the Ballon dOr.We like to challenge ourselves, says Flamini, chipping in. Thats why I dont like to be the one to tell him hes a top player. Of course he is and he has done lots already but he can do more. At the club awards night at the end of last season, Ozil and Flamini won Biggest Bromance We are winners, when we talk among ourselves we say: Why aim for the sky, when there are footprints on the moon?What would footprints on the moon mean for Arsenal?We want to win the title, says Ozil. And not just the Premier League. We are still in the FA Cup and still in the Champions League. Against Barcelona, it will be difficult, but in football anything is possible.Interviewing Ozil was enlightening. He has deep interest in culture, a burning ambition and drive not always apparent from his body language and, according to Flamini, hes hugely popular among players and staff.Sitting down with him was worth the wait. But if Arsenal are to get their faltering title challenge back on track, their main man will have to continue do his talking on the pitch.Watch Arsenal in Premier League action away to Bournemouth on Super Sunday, live on Sky Sports 1 HD from 12.30pm. Also See: Sky Live: Bmouth v Arsenal Beware Afobe, Arsenal warned Arsenal news Howe has respect for Wenger Wholesale Basketball Jerseys . Ibaka equaled a career high with 20 rebounds, adding four blocked shots and 15 points as the Thunder smothered the Milwaukee Bucks offence in a 92-79 victory Saturday night. Wholesale Jerseys . The parade and rally were held to celebrate the Saskatchewan Roughriders 45-23 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Sunday in the CFLs championship game. . Q: Team Canada announces their Olympic roster three weeks from today. Who is general manager Steve Yzerman watching? LeBrun: Over the last 48 hours, hes taken in the home-and-home between the Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche with Jamie Benn and Matt Duchene being the obvious targets. Wholesale Jerseys For Sale . In Europe, top teams seem to be largely happy with their squads after spending nearly $1 billion in the off-season. And although English league clubs are unlikely to splash cash in January, Arsenal and Chelsea could be tempted to strengthen their squads with new strikers. Cheap NBA Jerseys . Batiste, who briefly signed with the Eskimos in 2006, has spent time with several NFL teams including the Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Redskins. RIO DE JANEIRO -- Robeisy Ramirez flummoxed his opponent for three Olympic rounds, landing precise punches and nimbly avoiding trouble. From bell to bell, the gold medalist showcased the same spectacular skills common to so many fighters from Cubas matchless boxing institution over the previous half-century.Ramirez then waved and pumped his fist at the cheering crowd before holding a long, gracious conversation with reporters from all countries.That second part is, well, revolutionary.The new generation of Cuban Olympic boxers in the Rio de Janeiro ring shares much with its glorious predecessors, from superb athletic talent to peerless technique.What they dont share is the reticence, standoffishness and arrogance that characterized the dominant Cuban squads under famed coach Alcides Sagarra and his successors. The new stars also dont seem to care about the longtime restrictions, both spoken and unspoken, on Cuban athletes interactions with the media, Olympic employees and even other competitors.Just like its nation, Cubas famed boxing team is opening up to the world.Its something were doing on our own, said Joahnys Argilagos, the light flyweight world champion who received Olympic bronze Sunday. Its true we, the Cuban fighters, never spoke that much, but this is a new generation. We are getting around more. We have more information. We are more loose.Cuba sent two defending Olympic gold medalists to Rio, both fighting in new divisions. While Ramirez won Sunday, Roniel Iglesias lost a contentious bout to Uzbekistans Shakhram Giyasov a day earlier, yet still stopped to speak thoughtfully and at length to reporters about the defeat.When former world champion Lazaro Alvarez also lost a tight decision to Brazils Robson Conceicao in the lightweight semifinals Sunday, he discussed it with the humility and patience showed by Ramirez.Everyone still has their choice whether they wish to speak to reporters, but I dont mind, Ramirez said. I know how it was in the past, but I like to talk about my fights. Its no problem for me.These Cubans also have a sense of humor. When heavyweight Erislandy Savon, the nephew of Felix, lost his heavyweight semifinal to clinch a bronze, he stormed past reporters from the West and Cuba -- but then abruptly stopped and turned to say, Very sorry, but I have to go to doping control.Light heavyweight Julio Cesar La Cruz also blew off reporters Sunday after beating Brazils Michel Borges to clinch a medal, buut he grinned and shouted that he had to study his next opponent, who was in the following bout.dddddddddddd La Cruz later returned and spoke at length.It is a normal evolution, Argilagos said. Nobody from one day to the next said, `Hey, lets start talking more. It just came from us naturally.Sagarra ran the Cuban program for 3 1/2 decades until 2001, learning training methods from the Soviet Union and then Russia, and applying them to the islands best athletes. His fighters were restricted from interactions with others, and not just to combat the constant threat of defection.Sagarra usually forbade interviews while the team was abroad, even for transcendent heavyweight three-time Olympic champions Teofilo Stevenson and Felix Savon. A perceived aloofness permeated their attitudes in the ring, where they often didnt celebrate or congratulate.But much has changed in Cuba in the past four years -- and not just with the so-called Cuban Thaw, which led to normalization of relations with the United States.While their predecessors were forbidden from pro careers, some of the current Cuban Olympic fighters have spent the past three years traveling the world as participants in the World Series of Boxing, the professional team fight league set up by the International Boxing Association.Its a good opportunity to fight the best in the world, middleweight Arlen Lopez said. It helped us prepare for the same opponents at the Olympics.Cubas decision to field a WSB team -- nicknamed the Domadores, or Ringmasters -- fulfilled a long-held goal of AIBA to present the islands brilliant boxing talents to the world more frequently than once every four years.Cubas program clearly faces challenges in adapting to AIBAs rule changes since the last Olympic cycle. Along with the absence of headgear, fights are no longer scored on a punch-counting system that played perfectly to the Cubans superior athletic grace. Thats forcing changes for Cuba, which has historically built on long jabs, precise counterpunching and an overall elusiveness that doesnt guarantee similar success under the new 10-point system.Yet Argilagos claimed the 68th Olympic medal in Cubas boxing history Sunday, and a handful of teammates are almost certain to follow.We have many good boxers, La Cruz said. Cuba has great fighters. This year is no different. 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