Per Mertesacker stayed cool during the inevitable bath in the ice buoy. But during his farewell speech in the middle circle of the world championship arena at Maschsee, the 2014 world champion couldn’t and didn’t want to hold back his tears anymore.
“I would never have dreamed that I could play again in Hannover in front of such a scenery. What a farewell,” the 34-year-old shouted to the more than 40,000 spectators, interrupted several times by quiet sobs. Also thanks to the amazingly large backdrop after twelve Mertesacker years in Bremen and London, 300,000 euros were raised for his foundation for the benefit of disadvantaged young people from the greater Hanover area.
But despite all the euphoria: the absence of two long-time companions felt like a bad low blow for the 104-time national player. Miroslav Klose preferred a short vacation; Michael Ballack was even still on the match report sheet, but then stayed away from his criticism of national coach Joachim Löw “Mertes Homecoming”, the official title, for fear of questions.
Per Mertesacker Honours
- Werder Bremen
- DFB-Pokal: 2008–09
- FA Cup: 2013–14, 2014–15, 2016–17
- FA Community Shield: 2015, 2017
- FIFA World Cup: 2014
“Those who didn’t come didn’t deserve Hanover either,” the defender told the audience in the stadium, in later interviews he became even clearer: “I’ll have to consider whether to delete one or the other number. Such cancellations are painful, there is no reward for the organisation behind them. Especially when you know that four people have been working for this day for months.”
At the after-show party, however, Mertesacker’s joy about an all-round successful conclusion after 534 professional games within 15 years prevailed. “This is something that will last forever. I think people appreciate what I stand for. Maybe I am a small role model, I would be happy”, said the 1.98 m longest national player in German football history.
The central defender received the highest recognition from his team manager of many years, Arsene Wenger, who had obviously enjoyed coming to Germany. “We coaches demand that the players get the most out of themselves. Per was a very good example in this area: Always 100 percent professional and focused. For me it was a great stroke of luck,” said the Alsatian, who had been coach of FC Arsenal for 22 years, praising the German model professional.
Now Mertesacker is returning to the Gunners, where he has been in charge of the junior academy since September 1. But the return to Hanover is already planned – for some time: “Because this city will always remain my home”. BetChan is one of the popular online casino gaming site today and also has a wide selections of gaming options to choose from.