Per Mertesacker has claimed that he doesn’t want to play again with his retirement from football just a few months away (via ESPN).
Per Mertesacker has been a tremendous player and a hugely popular figure at Arsenal since his arrival from Werder Bremen in 2011.
The big centre-back has made 220 appearances for the club but is retiring from playing at the end of the season to take up a position at Arsenal’s academy.
Now, Mertesacker has given a remarkably frank interview to the German press, going into the reasons behind his limited playing time this season and why he is calling time on his playing career.
“My body is finished,” Mertesacker told Der Spiegel.
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“Everyone says I should enjoy the last year, to play as much as possible and take everything in, [but] I would rather sit on the bench or – even better – in the stands, and then, for the first time in my life, aged more than 30, I will feel free.
“Some days you realise that everything is a burden, both physically and mentally… but you have to deliver without a doubt, even if you are injured.
“In the moments before a game starts, my stomach turns around as if I had to vomit. Then I have to choke so violently until my eyes water.
“Even if I had to vomit before every game and go to rehab 20 times, I would do it all over again. It was worth it for all of the memories.”
It’s an incredible interview from Per Mertesacker and certainly explains why he wants to call time on his playing career. The German will always be fondly remembered by Arsenal fans and particularly for his performance in last season’s FA Cup Final victory over Chelsea.