Per Mertesacker might be a laughing stock in the eyes of some people.
But even his harshest critics might find his quotes about retirement pull at the heart strings a bit.
Mertesacker has had an illustrious career spanning over a decade at the top, peaking with that famous World Cup glory with Germany in 2014.
And he’s been a truly loyal servant to Arsenal too despite the regular jibes about his pace.
But this summer the gentle German giant will hang up his boots – and my God doesn’t he sound relieved about it.
He told German news outlet Der Spiegel: “My body is finished.
“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.”
‘Finished’ and ‘free’ make it sound like he’s been subject to slavery, locked up in some inescapable and never ending doom.
Then again, it is Arsenal…
“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,” he added.
“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.”
Again, ever so slightly heartbreaking.
Mertesacker is expected to take up a role with the Gunners’ academy when the time comes this summer.
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