Shkodran Mustafi, the 32-year-old World Cup-winning defender who played for Arsenal from 2016 to 2021, has announced his retirement from professional football.

The 20-time German international will embark on a new chapter in his career as the assistant coach of the German U17 national team.

Disappointment FC Schalke 04 Shkodran Mustafi
Disappointment FC Schalke 04 Shkodran Mustafi

“I’ve been thinking about gaining experience as a coach for a while,” Mustafi said in a statement released by the German Football Association (DFB). “On the one hand, it’s a shame that it’s coming so soon because I would have liked to have played football myself for longer. On the other hand, I’m really looking forward to the time ahead and to taking my first steps as a coach at the DFB.”

Mustafi’s career spanned over a decade, with stints at clubs such as Everton, Sampdoria, Valencia, and Schalke 04, in addition to his time at Arsenal. He was a key member of the German national team that won the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

In recent years, Mustafi faced a series of injuries that ultimately led him to hang up his boots. His last professional club was Levante in Spain, where he made 14 appearances and scored two goals over two seasons. He left them last summer and has been without a club since.

He had expressed a desire to continue playing as recently as April, stating, “I’ll be 32 this month, but I still think I’m young enough and have enough energy and motivation to attack again.”

However, it seems he was unable to find a suitable club for the 2023-2024 season.

Mustafi will officially start his new role as assistant coach alongside Marc Meister on July 1st. The DFB sees him as a valuable asset, bringing his experience and knowledge to the next generation of German footballers.