Right now it seems amazing that Per Mertesacker reached the very top of the footballing tree with Werder Bremen, Arsenal of course winning the World Cup with Germany. The Gunners captain revealed just last week that he gets physically sick with nerves and anxiety before every match, and said that right now, even though he still has a playing contract at Arsenal, that he is much happier watching from the bench or the stands.
Per said: “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 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.”
But Mertesacker also made another comment when discussing his past, and he revealed that even as far back as 2006, when the World Cup was held in Germany, that he was suffering just as much even then. He said: “Of course, I was also disappointed when we lost to Italy and were out of the tournament in the semifinal, but more than anything, I was relieved. I can still remember it as if it were yesterday. All I thought was: It’s over, it’s over. It’s finally over.”
It certainly sounds like he has had it bad, which makes it even more amazing that he continued his career at the top so long, but it is a bit difficult to reconcile being happy that your country got beat in a World Cup semi-final!