Mikel Arteta came off the bench in the 88th minute as he appeared for the last time in his football career for Arsenal against Aston Villa on Sunday 15th of May.
The Spaniard had announced his intention to honourably end his football career after coming to the painful realisation that he no longer gets position among the highest footballers. Arteta said it was a “dream” to bow out at the top and he will now try a future in the coaching lane.
Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur offered the 34-year-old a chance to take his first steps as a coach and he said that Arsenal – his club of the past five years – had “left the door very open, adding that: “I may have to make a decision.”
Manchester City went for him months ago with Pep Guardiola, their manager, offering him a role on the staff. Arteta also has a close friendship with Mauricio Pochettino, the Tottenham manager, having previously played with him at Paris Saint-Germain. Pochettino, however, believes it would be problematic for Arteta to cross the north London divide.
The former Arsenal Captain made his final appearance for Arsenal in Sunday’s 4-0 home win over Aston Villa on 15th of May. He came on as an 88th-minute substitute and came close to marking his farewell with a goal. His injury-time shot came back off the crossbar, hit the Villa goalkeeper, Mark Bunn, and went in for an own goal instead.
Areta could not hold back his tears after the final whistle was blown. Influenced by his decision to get into coaching, Arteta said he had no plans to add another year or two as a player elsewhere.
“It is very hard to stop but I wanted to leave it. I wanted to decide, and I thought for the last few months that I wasn’t good enough to represent this club on the pitch,” Arteta said. He since partnered well with Guardiola to restore City’s confidence as a top English club.