Per Mertesacker reveals the heart-breaking reason he nearly retired in 2009

2018-03-17 17:46:09

Arsenal captain Per Mertesacker has revealed he considered retirement after the death of his close friend and former team-mate Robert Enke.

Enke, who played with Mertesacker at Hannover, was just 32 when he committed suicide in 2009 after a six-year struggle with depression.

And the trauma of his friend’s death caused him to evaluate his playing career.

In an interview with Spiegel, the Germany international fought back to tears to describe just how the incident affected him.

He said: “Even I didn't know how badly he was doing. That says something, doesn't it?

"I was really close to throwing [ football ] all away. Especially because one week later, everything was like it was before.

"[But] my career is unique, I had so much luck in my life, I couldn't give that up so easily.

"It's hard to explain, but it's like a vortex that you can't get out of."

The 33-year-old, who will retire at the end of the season, also revealed he has suffered with terrible nausea and diarrhoea before games throughout his whole career.

"This is the first time I've spoken about the nausea issue," Mertesacker asid.

“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.

"I have to go to the bathroom right after getting up, right after breakfast, again after lunch and again at the stadium.

"[It's] as if everything that then happened, symbolically speaking, just made me want to puke."

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