Per Mertesacker happy to retire, admits the pressure of playing leaves him close to vomiting

Posted By: Aveek Chakraborty
Per Mertesacker with Arsene Wenger

London, March 12: Arsenal captain Per Mertesacker in a surprising revelation has claimed that the need to perform on a big match day brings him close to throwing up and he is glad that his playing days were coming to an end.

The 33-year-old defender, earlier this season, announced that this season will be the last year of his playing career. The German international already hung up his boots after 2014 world cup victory and is now all set to put an end to his 15-year long career.

And talking about his struggle of performing during matchdays the Arsenal captain has now opened about mental and physical issues and stated he still feels nervous before every game which makes him sometimes vomit.

"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," former Germany international Mertesacker said.

"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."

However, he also claimed that he has no regrets about putting such pressure on himself during match days and if given a chance, he will relish the moments again.

"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," he said.

The 33-year-old World Cup winner also claimed that his fitness level currently at the lowest point with his long-term knee problem has now made him retire from football and he prefers not to play again this season with such health condition.

"My body is finished," the German told Der Spiegel.

"Everyone says I should enjoy the last year, to play as much as possible and take everything in, 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."

However, the former Werder Bremen player after retirement won't be ending his tie with football and Arsenal as from next season, he will take his role as Arsenal's new academy manager.

The veteran defender has played 11 matches so far in this campaign and last featured in the third-round FA Cup defeat at Nottingham Forest in January.

Despite such struggle, the three times FA Cup winner still continue to be part of Arsene Wenger's first-team squad.

Mertesacker has made over 200 Arsenal appearances, winning three FA Cup as well as has 100 Germany caps to his name, winning the World Cup once.

Story first published: Monday, March 12, 2018, 18:08 [IST]
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