He’s 1,98m tall and weighs slightly less than 90kg. It’s very clear you don’t want to be his opponent on the football pitch: Worldcup 2014 champion Per Mertesacker.
All that aside, he’s a smart and funny guy. That’s why we wanted to ask him about some of his top career insights when he visited us at the adidas Group World of Sports in Herzogenaurach.
You prepare every day to strive for excellence – but how do you counter criticism when something goes wrong: Attack or defend?
Per: For me personally it is most important to put the criticism into perspective and to understand what actually caused the problem in the first place. It’s not a choice between attacking or defending, the right way to deal with haters or negative feedback is to turn the conversation into a positive learning for yourself or the team. Only this will help you to keep improving.
How important is self-marketing for you and what role does social media play?
Per: I don’t post on a daily basis – but I’m actively using Facebook and Twitter. Interaction and dialogue with fans and the public is getting more and more important, so I want to participate in it. I want to let people know what I’m doing in my life as a football player. Cool thing about social media is that you don’t need to be too serious about yourself and the things you do, that’s what I like and what’s fun about it.
We saw a video on Facebook that shows you practicing Rugby. Any plans to change careers?
Per: Rugby is just super-fast and intense. Surprisingly I was quite good at it. Once you have the ball, there is very little time to pass it on before you get tackled. It was not only fun but also a great exercise for the mental fitness. These little excursions help a lot to get some fresh thinking on how to improve myself and to translate certain knowledge back to my core sport, which is of course football.
How do you reward yourself after an intense training session?
Per: Healthy food is highly important to me. If you intend to be successful in the long-term you need to get the best treatment and recovery possible. You cannot run under highest pressure all the time, there needs to be a certain time when your body is allowed to relax and to recharge.
We’re glad that you mentioned healthy food. There is a pretty healthy “low carb veggy burger” on the menu in our employee canteen –want to give it a try?
Per: (smiles) no comment
No worries, we’ll arrange a delivery to London for you 😉 Good luck for the upcoming matches and thanks a lot for the interview.