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Per Mertesacker retires from German national team

Aug 15, 2014, 4:19 PM EDT

Arsenal's Per Mertesacker celebrates his goal against Wigan Athletic during their English FA Cup semi-final soccer match at Wembley Stadium in London Reuters

Arsenal center-back and German national team veteran Per Mertesacker has decided to leave international duty for good, and at the young age of 29, no less.

Mertesacker made 104 appearances and scored four goals for Germany. His international debut came in 2004 against Iran when he was just 20 years old. But he left the national team happy, following their World Cup victory in Brazil, a joyous occasion for him and all of Germany.

His comfortability to retire also has to do with the fact that German football has loads of young talent to carry on his country’s success.

“Winning the World Cup was the best possible end to 10 years in the national team. I’ve moved aside to let younger players take over. We don’t have to fret about the future, we are better equipped than every before. I’m happy that I’ve been able to play for so long, happy that people have trusted in me,” said Mertesacker.

He now aspires to use his winning triumphs at his club team, Arsenal, which will seek to improve the positives from last year.

“I’m still hungry for more titles, but I want to win them with Arsenal – to win the league, perhaps have a go at the Champions League.

“You could see the potential was there, at times. We were top until Christmas. It was there for the taking for a long time. But in the big away games we were too naive, we also couldn’t compensate the injured players. But I have a feeling that we will achieve a lot more. The manager constantly pushes us in the right direction with his experience and calmness.”

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