You feel it’s news that’s been coming for a while now, but today Tomas Rosicky has formally announced his retirement from professional football at the age of 37.
Sparta Prague called a press conference on Wednesday morning at which Rosicky confirmed the news, duly admitting defeat in his ongoing quest to regain match fitness.
After careful consideration I have realised I am no longer able to fully prepare my body for what the professional football requires.
I would like to thank Sparta for raising me, for being the first step in my career in big clubs, and for allowing me to say goodbye at the place I love the most.
The silken Czech midfielder – dubbed ‘The Little Mozart’ due to his orchestral playmaking abilities – amassed 105 caps for his country and over 350 appearances at club level for Sparta, Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal and then Sparta again, a tally that would have been much higher were it not for the persistent injury problems that dogged the latter half of his career.
Alas, after rejoining his boyhood team in August of 2016 and scoring on his debut, he then managed just two league appearances over the subsequent season-and-a-half due to an inflamed Achilles tendon.
Unsurprisingly, Rosicky has now finally bitten the bullet.
Tomáš Rosický: I knew it was coming, it was harder and harder to prepare for matches, my mind still wanted to play on but the body refused. Recently my mind also stopped working this way. I had a great football career, I loved football and I would definitely go through it again. pic.twitter.com/b8zs5GL0rE
— Ondřej Zlámal (@UEFAcomOndrejZ) December 20, 2017
Arsene Wenger once said “If you love football, you love Rosicky” and that’s a wonderfully succinct way to encapsulate the intertwined artistry and graft of a truly gifted player.
Smooth as silk, but sadly constructed entirely of papier-mâché from the waist down, as his grand tally of career injuries duly attests. This is the man who made just 150 appearances in 10 years with the Gunners.
Still, let it be known that when he was on song, he was one of the very best and he most definitely refused to go gently…