Vivianne Miedema has admitted that she almost retired from football at the age of 18 following the Netherlands’ 2-1 defeat to Japan in the last 16 of the 2015 World Cup.
The Arsenal forward has gone on to establish herself as one of the finest players in world football, breaking goal scoring records in the WSL, winning the European Championships with the Netherlands and being crowned the 2021 BBC Footballer of the Year.
However, she came close to calling it quits at professional level as a teenager after suffering her first bout of major tournament heartache on the senior international stage.
“I think the toughest moment of my career, and I think I was really close to actually retiring was the World Cup in 2015,” Miedema told BBC Three’s MOTDx. “I was just 18. When I came home I remember saying that I didn’t want to do it again because I could not deal with the pressure, I didn’t like football and I told my mum: ‘this is me done, I’ll play for fun in Holland but that’s it’.
“I think that’s when I started changing my mindset about football. Feeling a lot more free, a lot more okay with myself, and not needing to listen to the outside world.”
Miedema didn’t hang up her boots and instead remained at Bayern Munich for a further two years, where she won her second Bundesliga title.
The Netherlands international moved to Arsenal in 2017 and during her five seasons in the WSL she has become the league’s all-time top scorer and the first person in the division’s history to reach 100 goal contributions.
“These records don’t really mean too much to me right now because I’m just focussed on being the best player I can be for my team,” Miedema added. “I don’t really like being the centre of attention. I am quite private, I am quite closed off, and still sometimes now I do struggle with the pressure of football.”