Everything that has a beginning surely has an end. Moreover, that was the case for Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky as the two bring the curtain down on their Arsenal careers.
The two midfielders will exit the club when their contract expires this summer.
Arsenal captain, Arteta was emotional after the final whistle as he struggled to fight back tears while bidding the fans farewell.
Appearing in his last match for the Gunners, the 34-year-old was denied the pleasure to cap it off with a goal, in his side 4-0 win over Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium, as his strike was ruled as Mark Bunn own goal. The Spaniard joined Arsenal from Everton in 2011 for £10 million and went ahead to make 150 appearances and netted 17 times.
Rosicky signed for Arsenal in 2006 and endured an injury-plagued stay at the Emirates; he made 246 appearances and scored just over 20 goals.
He could not feature in Sunday match as he recuperates from a knee surgery. The 35-year-old Czech international was, however, giving a standing ovation when he took to the pitch after the match to wave goodbye to the fans. Both he and Arteta won the FA Cup in 2014 and 2015.
The Czech Republic international came after the game to give a speech to the club’s supporters and was also give an unbeaten ovation.
“It was a very sad day for me yesterday not being able to pick [Rosicky] to be in the squad today because there was something at stake," said Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager, after the game.
Bemoaning the loss of the two veterans, Arsene Wenger as quoted by the Independent said:
“We lose him. We lose Arteta – two exceptional football players but also two leaders in the dressing room. I am convinced that in the bad periods, they were a positive influence on the squad and we will miss them next season."
At the end of the game, the entire stadium has given a huge round of applause to Arteta. Arteta said on the club’s official website.
“Joining Arsenal is a dream, I want to thank you for all the support given to me in my time here. It has been so distinct honor to be here. “
Mathieu Flamini will also join the two in leaving the club as his contract expires this summer too. The personalities and the leadership of the three we will all miss next season.
Wenger is already looking to bring in suitable replacements for the midfield trio. Leicester City N’Golo Kante, Borussia Monchengladbach Granit Xhaka, and Borussia Dortmund Henrikh Mkhtariyan are all on his wishlist.