Per Mertesacker Was Replaced By His 67-Year Old Dad In Tearful Testimonial

Per Mertesacker had his testimonial in Hannover yesterday as the former Arsenal captain said farewell to the great game of football.

The game saw 'Mertesacker's Hannover 96 friends' take on a World XI managed by Arsene Wenger, who was in charge of Mertesacker for the entirety of his stay in North London and instated him as Arsenal academy boss before he left the club.

Claudio Pizarro, Torsten Frings and Kieran Gibbs were just a few of Mertesacker's former teammates to be involved in the send-off, which was obviously a 19-goal thriller.

Mertesacker, nicknamed "the BFG", played for both sides in the game and was on the scoresheet in front of 40,000 fans in attendance.

He left the pitch to a standing ovation late in the game and was replaced by his 67-year old father, Stefan.

You can check the highlights here, with the wonderful moment occuring around 7:45:

The 34-year old struggled to fight back the tears as he shared an embrace with his old man and then continued to be overcome with emotion as he applauded fans in the stands.

There's something very special about the way he bowed out and it's no wonder he got a little choked. It's the opposite idea of what happened in Andrea Pirlo's testimonial earlier this year, when the Italian midfield maverick was replaced by his son, Niccolo.

Mertesacker gave a mandatory speech after the game, thanking those for turning it in their thousands to celebrate his career.

"Dear fans, what a send-off," the 34-year old said on the pitch.

"I couldn't have dreamed of playing in front of such an amazing crowd again here in Hannover. Thank you very, very much. It means the world to me that I am able to say goodbye here."

Josh Lawless

Josh is a writer who specialises in football and wrestling. He has been published by Curzon Ashton FC, Late Tackle, Manchester City FC, The Mirror, Read Man City and Manchester Evening News. He provides coverage of professional wrestling and has interviewed some of the biggest names in the field - including the first UK interview with The Hardy Boyz after their return to WWE. He has never sported a pair of Lonsdale Slip-ons, contrary to reports.

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