Arsenal star Mikel Arteta struggles to enjoy playing football

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Mikel Arteta has admitted that he has struggled to enjoy playing football in recent years because of the pressure he bestows upon himself.

The 32-year-old has spent nine years playing in England but has yet to win a major award with either Everton or Arsenal. He has also never been capped by Spain but is still held in high regard across the Premier League.

After signing him from Everton for £10m in 2011, Arsene Wenger quickly promoted him to vice captain; a role that has been more active than not thanks to Thomas Vermaelen's demotion to the bench.

Despite appearing in over 250 Premier League games for both the Toffees and Arsenal, Arteta says that he has struggled to revel in his achievements as his obsession with improving has left him feeling the pressure.

Speaking to the official Arsenal Magazine, Arteta said: "That I achieved what I wanted to achieve but with one particular regret — that I haven’t enjoyed it as much as I should have done.

"And that’s because I always put too much pressure on myself, trying to improve things that are not going well, not just in my own game but other things around the players or the club.

"I find it difficult to say "I love it" because I’m constantly putting myself under pressure, there’s always a next target or a "we won but we didn’t do a certain thing well" nagging away at you. And it’s always like that.'

"The fight to switch off gets harder and harder. I just can’t do it.

"I have long discussions with my wife every time we have a bad result and I constantly think about what we can improve, what we did wrong, what happened in the game.

Despite helping Arsenal to the FA Cup final, Arteta has come under mounting pressure from Arsenal fans, who want to see the Spaniard dropped in favour of a younger alternative in the summer.

Reports emerged last month claiming Wenger had already told Arsenal officials not to renew Arteta's contract, which is due to expire in 2015.

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