MX23RW : Wednesday, July 18 22:13:17

Per Mertesacker opens up on football "burden"

Mertesacker opens up on football
© SilverHub
Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker opens about the "burden" he faces before a match as the German enters the final stages of his career.

Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has opened up about the "burden" he faces before a match as the German enters the final stages of his career.

The 33-year-old, who is retiring at the end of the season, has been eased out of the Gunners fold by manager Arsene Wenger as he prepares to enter a management role with the club next season.

Mertesacker told Der Spiegel that his "stomach turns round" ahead of a game, while he also comes close to vomiting.

"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," the defender 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. 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.

"My body is finished. 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."

Arsenal play Watford in the Premier League on Sunday looking to build on their Europa League victory over AC Milan in midweek.

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Arsene Wenger watches on during the Europa League group game between Arsenal and Red Star Belgrade on November 2, 2017
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