The Ultimate Professional: Why I Respect Tomas Rosicky
When Robin van Persie left Arsenal for pastures new in Manchester three years ago, Gunners fans were livid.
The stench of betrayal clung to the air around the Emirates like a parasite, and Arsene Wenger was left reeling at the departure of one of Arsenal’s best players ever. A once injury-prone, albeit talented Dutchman, had failed to repay the loyalty of his club, and sought refuge elsewhere in the Premier League.
It proved to be one of the most controversial and disrespectful transfer moves away from London soil in modern football.
Loyalty is, and now always will be one of my favourite virtues. To be loyal is to show faith, understanding and patience, and it is a trait often displayed by those of us who are respectful and have a fantastic sense of belonging.
Tomas Rosicky is such a human being.
It was billed as the beginning of a new era at Arsenal...out with the old, and in with the new. ‘The Little Mozart’ they called him in Germany, a nickname befitting of such a wonderfully gifted player.
May 23rd 2006 saw Arsenal announce the signature of Czech star Tomas Rosicky, with the view of utilising him as the club’s long-term replacement for Robert Pires. It was a magnificent coup by all accounts, and many Arsenal fans were optimistic at the prospects which adorned the horizon.
It was, however, no small task. Arsenal were slowly leaving their most glorious and fruitful period (under Arsene Wenger) behind them, with three Premier League trophies and four FA Cups glistening in the trophy cabinet. The gunners were looking to replace their ‘old guard’ with exciting, fresh talent, and Tomas Rosicky personified that image perfectly.
To those around him, both professionally and privately, his loyalty knows no bounds. A soldier at Arsenal for almost nine years, Tomas has rejected the various transfer temptations that have met him throughout his gunners career, and has always been willing to extend his stay in North London by signing new contracts. It is his loyalty, work ethic and passion that have been perhaps the most prominent reasons behind his affection with Arsenal fans, and why he remains so beloved and admired by millions of football fans around the world.
Endowed with not only unwavering loyalty, Tomas Rosicky has emerged as an Arsenal mainstay over the past four seasons after strings of artistic and resolute performances. While many managers would’ve given up hope on the injury-marred Czech, Arsene Wenger saw a light at the end of a tunnel in which Rosicky would showcase his ability.
How would I describe Rosicky’s contribution on the football pitch? Words like tireless, combative and exquisite come to mind. And I don’t imagine many would disagree.
To take a look at his career statistics in red would underwhelm you. Statistics, be it goals or assists, whilst crucially important, do not paint an adequate picture in this scenario. Rosicky is key in ways even most Arsenal fans are yet to understand. His direct, skilful approach has proven the difference on many an occasion, and Tomas’ turn of pace and ability to unlock a defence is second to none.
To sum it up into one short sentence; he’s Arsenal’s most beloved, yet underrated player, and he’s absolutely imperative to the manner in which we play football.
Were it not for his rather depressing injury record over the past decade, the world could have seen so much more of his unworldly talent. Had his body helped rather than hindered him more frequently throughout his run, we’d be classing Tomas Rosicky in with the David Silvas, the Cesc Fabregas’ and the Luka Modric’s of this world. And yes, you read that correctly.
Being an Arsenal fan of thirteen years, since witnessing the 2002 FA Cup final as a six year-old, I’ve been privileged to have enjoyed some of the greatest footballers in the game’s history. It’s become almost too easy to praise players in the mould of a Thierry Henry or a Dennis Bergkamp. And don’t get me wrong, I love those guys. But as with my mentality in life, I like to think a little more outside the box.
Showing respect towards and admiring a player cast in bronze outside the Emirates, and with every major trophy in world football under his belt? Too easy. I like to credit those who I feel slip under our loving radars. I’d like to declare my un-dying respect for a man who lacks the trophies and accomplishments of some of the game’s greats, but a man who gives his all every time he slips on those legendary Arsenal colours. I’d like to whole-heartedly thank a person who showed loyalty and patience to a club that helped him through months of injury hell, and countless bouts of physical agony.
Tomas Rosicky is one of my favourite Arsenal players of all time, and it appears I’m not alone in thinking that way. They say that the respect from your peers can mean more than anything in this world, and I think it speaks volumes when professionals of the highest calibre, like Marco Reus and Arsene Wenger, herald Rosicky’s efforts and the example in which he has set.
Wenger once said; “If you love football, then you love Tomas Rosicky”.
And what’s more? He’s only 34 years old.