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    Arsenal and Germany star Per Mertesacker admits to suffering "stomach-turning" pre-match pressure


    Joe Jones

    Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has revealed how he would rather not play another professional football game because of the physical and mental "burden" within the game.

    The 33-year-old, a World Cup winner with Germany, is set to become Arsenal's new academy manager next season, but he opened up about the sheer anxiety he experiences prior to taking to the pitch.

    "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," he told Spiegel.

    "Some days you realise everything is a burden, both physically and mentally but you have to deliver without a doubt.

    "The pressure is very intense. I always have this horror story in my head, to make a mistake and be responsible for a conceded goal. If the fans celebrate it is great, it is unbelievable. But if they are booing you, I always feel very ashamed.

    "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.

    "At times I really was done. My body was not ready for any more efforts. And if I couldn't play anymore, I was injured, it always was like that. I think, that a lot of returning injuries have psychologically reasons. That the body tries to give your soul some rest."

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