December 20, 2017 / 11:24 AM / 10 months ago

Former Arsenal midfielder Rosicky ends professional career

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Former Arsenal midfielder and Czech national side playmaker Tomas Rosicky — dubbed “Little Mozart” for his vision and pinpoint passing — ended his professional career on Wednesday after years of injuries often kept him off the pitch.

FILE PHOTO - Football Soccer - Arsenal v Newcastle United - Barclays Under 21 Premier League - Emirates Stadium - 8/4/16 Arsenal's Tomas Rosicky in action Action Images via Reuters / Alan Walter Livepic

Rosicky, 37, retired at Sparta Prague where he began his career before moving to Borussia Dortmund in 2001 and to Arsenal in 2006 where he played for a decade. He returned to Sparta in 2016 but only appeared 12 times due to injury.

“My body was telling me for a long time that it does not want (to do it) any more,” he told a news conference. “I would probably have nothing to offer my team mates and Sparta.”

The attacking midfielder, who made his international debut at age 19, started 105 games for the national team, making him the third most-capped player in the country’s history.

Rosicky won a Bundesliga title with Dortmund and two FA Cups with Arsenal, for whom he appeared in 246 games and scored 28 goals.

“I lived through beautiful moments but unfortunately also terribly negative ones,” he added. “Without even thinking about, I would immediately do it again.”

Reporting by Jason Hovet and Jan Lopatka, Writing by Michael Kahn; Editing by Catherine Evans and Christian Radnedge

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