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Arsenal defender and World Cup winner Per Mertesacker has opened up about the troubles he has experienced in football while sharing his heartbreaking pre-match routine during an emotional interview.
Mertesacker confirmed last year that he will retire at the end of the season because his body is 'finished and now in a recent chat with German outlet Der Spiegel, the 33-year-old revealed his battles with illness and self-doubt, especially before games.
"My stomach starts churning and I feel like I'm going to throw up. Then I have to choke so hard that I tear up." he said. "I have to go to the bathroom right after getting up, right after breakfast, again after lunch and again at the stadium."
Mertesacker goes on to speak about the nausea and diarrhea he experiences before games, and revealed that he can't eat for up to four hours before a game because it made him want to puke.
"Then there's the diarrhea he gets on the mornings of matches" the report says. "He says it happened on more than 500 days of his life. For a while, all his body could handle was noodles with a bit of olive oil. He couldn't eat any later than four hours before a game to ensure that his stomach was guaranteed to be totally empty when the nausea started."
"As if everything that then happened, symbolically speaking, just made me want to puke." the German defender described.
Lothar Matthaus on Mertesacker: "He could have stopped playing if the pressure was too big. To play a World Cup in your home country, and to be carried by euphoria, must not be a burden for you." https://t.co/tBlDqfGf2t pic.twitter.com/fwriaV5sCz- Chris Wheatley (@ChrisWheatley_) March 13, 2018
The centre-back has made just 13 appearances over the last two seasons and says he will finally be able to 'live free' once he retires.
"My body is finished. Everyone says I should enjoy the last year, to play as much as possible and take everything in," he told German outlet Der Spiegel.
"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. 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.
During his seven year spell at Arsenal, Mertesacker lifted the the FA Cup three times and the Community Shield twice.
We wish you all the best in your managerial career, Per.
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