2014 World Cup winner Sami Khedira, who currently plays for Hertha BSC, has announced that he will end his playing career at the end of this season. The 77-time international made the announcement at a virtual press conference on Wednesday afternoon. “It’s not an easy decision, but it’s the right one. Fifteen years of professional football have left their mark and I have a responsibility towards my body. It was a gut feeling that decided it for me in the end,” said the 34-year-old, who will play his 107th and final Bundesliga match against TSG Hoffenheim on Saturday.
Khedira made 77 appearances for Germany over the course of his career and scored seven goals. His greatest international success came in 2014 with the World Cup triumph in Rio de Janeiro. Shortly before that, the Stuttgart native had won the Champions League with Real Madrid after recovering from a torn cruciate ligament. In February, Khedira moved back to the German capital after almost six years at Juventus to join Hertha BSC in the Bundesliga. With the Italian record champions, he won five league titles and three cups. “Every single stage was its own challenge; every chapter, every club, the national team, and every season,” continued the 34-year-old.
The decision to hang up his boots was a slow process, but one that he made on his own. “The intensity, pain, and ordeal of injuries make it the right decision at the end of the day,” explained Khedira, who has often been plagued with injuries throughout his career. “The football business is hard as nails.”
The midfielder, who started his career with VfB Stuttgart and won a Bundesliga title with the club in 2007, expressed his desire to have a break from the game in the short-term, but to stay in football afterwards. “Right now, I want some peace and quiet,” said Khedira, who thanked numerous teammates and other people during the press conference. “Football has given me so much and has allowed me to live a privileged life. The pain I feel is big, but at the end of the day, the gratitude I feel outweighs it.”