Per Mertesacker (German pronunciation: [ˈpeːɐ̯ ˈmɛʁtəsʔakɐ]; born 29 September 1984) is a German professional footballer who plays as a centre back for Arsenal. He also played for the German national team but retired in August 2014 after winning the World Cup. Mertesacker is a youth product of Hannover 96 and he made his senior league debut in November 2003. Mertesacker was soon dubbed "the Defence Pole" (die Abwehrlatte) by German tabloids and gained a reputation for his good disciplinary record and went 31 Bundesliga games without being booked. Since joining Arsenal, their fans have nicknamed him the BFG, which is short for "Big Fucking German" and an allusion to Roald Dahl's The BFG due to his height. He has been described as an imposing, reliable, dominant and an accomplished defender.
With Werder Bremen, Mertesacker has won a DFB-Pokal title and finished runner-up in the 2008–09 UEFA Cup. With his quiet but effective game, he established himself as Germany's first choice centre-back. Prior to playing at senior level, he played at under-20 and under-21 level. In September 2004, Jürgen Klinsmann, then-manager of Germany, called Mertesacker up to the 9 October 2004 game against Iran.
* First and Second half goals are shown in brackets