Johan Djourou has become the second former Arsenal player to announce his retirement from playing football after Nicklas Bendtner did the same earlier this week.
Johan Djourou has hung up his boots at the age of 34, just days after Nicklas Bendtner did the same aged 33.
The Swiss defender had been playing for FC Nordsjaelland and had another year left on his contract with the Danish side but announced on his Instagram that, “After 17 years as a professional football player, I’m extremely happy and proud to announce that I’m retiring from professional football.”
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Djoruou played just 901 minutes last season, injury seemingly ruling him out from February.
Speaking to the Swiss publication, Blick, Djoruou said, “I thought about it for a very, very long time. That time was intense because I finally had to make a difficult decision. I’ve been a footballer for most of my life! I was afraid of what would come after my career, I doubted. I asked myself a lot of questions. But then at some point it clicked. And I felt in my stomach that the time had come.”
The reporter also asked Djourou “If you saw 16 year old Johan Djourou packing his bags for London now, what would you say to him?” and he replied “Good luck!” Because too often we forget that careers and life in general can always surprise us. Reality is more than fiction. I would also tell him to hold on to his dream and not give up. When I was 16, I didn’t know what was going to happen to me.”
Asked what advice he would like to have received back then, Djourou said, “That mistakes are human. Mine and those of others. Mistakes enable you to make progress. In a team sport, in such a competitive environment, it is not easy to accept missteps. We tend to point the finger at someone, both inside and outside the team.
“Far too often, yes! (we forget the human element). It’s a social problem. Athletes are easy targets. We have a lot of income, so we have to be good at our job. Point. But behind the player there is a person who also has a life with joys, personal worries, emotions, a family, and so on.”
Johan Djourou’s playing career
Over the course of his career, Johan Djourou played for nine clubs, but none more than Arsenal.
He made 144 appearances in an Arsenal shirt (scoring one and assisting six) before being sold in 2013 for £2.52m after arriving at Arsenal in 2003 aged just 16.
Djourou also represented Hamburger SV (104), Antalyaspor (18), Hannover 96 (16), Birmingham City (13), FC Nordsjaelland (12), SPAL (6), Neuchâtel Xamax FCS (5) and FC Sion (2).
Earlier this week, Nicklas Bendtner announced his retirement from playing. He hopes to move into coaching.