Mesut Ozil wants to win Ballon d'Or like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil has set himself the target of winning the Ballon d'Or and hit back at criticism from Paul Scholes.

Like several of his Germany teammates, Ozil has struggled with injuries since becoming a World Cup-winner in Brazil.

He has featured in 14 Premier League games, with a knee ligament injury sidelining him for three months before the turn of the year.

Ozil, 26, has rediscovered his form in 2015 after coming in for much criticism for his performances, and feels he can go on to emulate Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo by becoming the world's best player.

The former Real Madrid midfielder, currently preparing for Germany's friendly against Australia on Wednesday and the Euro 2016 qualifier in Georgia on Sunday, believes his injury troubles are over and he can improve.

"Should I continue to improve myself and stay healthy, I want to get my hands on the Ballon d'Or in the upcoming years," the Germany international told Sport Bild. "I am convinced that it can work out. I am headed in the right direction.

"I am a world champion and play at a top club in the Premier League. It's far more physical here [England] than in Spain or in the Bundesliga. I constantly have bruises, but it only makes me stronger, and physically I feel better than ever before."

Ozil, who had to face questions after partying in a Berlin nightclub having been allowed to miss Arsenal's victory at Newcastle due to illness, started his Arsenal career brilliantly.

But his form throughout 2014 was disappointing and he came in for much criticism.

Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes, now a pundit, accused Ozil of "going through the motions" at Arsenal in his column for the Independent at the start of this month.

"He's entitled to say that," Ozil said. "He wants to polarise as a pundit on TV. But in the end, such statements only give me an extra push."

Despite Germany's stuttering start to the European Championship qualifying campaign, which sees them second in Group D with seven points from four games having lost in Poland and drawn at home to Republic of Ireland, Ozil feels they can be competitive in France next summer.

"As world champions, we want to win the 2016 European Championship," he added. "From my point of view our squad is even stronger than the one we had at the World Cup in Brazil."