Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta has admitted that he does not enjoy professional football.
The Spanish midfielder turned 32 last month and is a player prone to introspection. So, if it all ended now, how would he look back on 15 years as a professional?
“That I achieved what I wanted to achieve but with one particular regret — that I haven’t enjoyed it as much as I should have done,” he told the London Evening Standard.
“And that’s because I always put too much pressure on myself, trying to improve things that are not going well, not just in my own game but other things around the players or the club.
“I always think that, in five or 10 years’ time, I’ll look back and say, ‘Mikel, do you realise you played for Arsenal, you played nice football, you had good coaches, good team-mates, a good life in London?’ Maybe I should just enjoy it more but it’s part of my make-up and it’s what keeps me going.
“When you win, you think about the next game straight away. When you lose, it takes 48 to 72 hours to digest why it happened and then you begin thinking about the next game, which is usually just a couple more days away.
“So I find it difficult to say ‘I love it’ because I’m constantly putting myself under pressure, there’s always a next target or a ‘we won but we didn’t do a certain thing well’ nagging away at you. And it’s always like that. But I do know how privileged I am to be in this position. Sometimes I take my kids onto the Emirates Stadium pitch after a game and remember that this would have all seemed like a dream when I was as young as them.”