Emotional Mertesacker retires replaced by his dad

In News total fifa by radmedia_Ricard

BERNAT LÓPEZ / ©XTREM FOOTBALL

Per Mertesacker was left sobbing during his emotional testimonial after his 67-year-old father replaced him on the field on Saturday afternoon. The ‘Big Friendly German’, as he is affectionately known, called time on his career in May before putting together a farewell match which pitted Mertesacker’s ‘Hannover 96 friends’ against a World XI managed by none other than Arsene Wenger.

The 40.000 fans in attendance at the HDI Arena were treated to a 19-goal thriller with the big man himself getting on the scoresheet one final time. Claudio Pizarro, Torsten Frings and Kieran Gibbs were just a few of Mertesacker’s former teammates to be involved in the send-off.

TAs the game reached the 89-minute mark, the 34-year-old left the pitch before being replaced by his father, leaving Mertesacker in tears. The former Arsenal man then enjoyed a lap of the field to thank the thousands of supporters before struggling to contain his emotions. Mertesacker then addressed the fans after the game to round off a heart-warming day in Germany.

“Dear fans, what a send-off”, he 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 It means the world to me that I am able to say goodbye here”, he added.It’s not the first time a professional has been replaced by a loved one during their testimonial. Andrea Pirlo was subbed off for his son during his farewell game earlier this year as the Italian legend waved goodbye to football.