Sat in front of his television, a football fan in some corner of the world experiences a wide range of emotion throughout a 90-minute game. As fans, everyone who supports a team has at least one story to tell about the time they almost had a heart attack, thanks to their club. If that’s true, then it mustn’t be hard for us to empathize with professional footballers or any athlete, for that matter. They are subject to intense pressure day-in and day-out.
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Occupational Hazards of a Pro
The minute sports went professional, it brought in a ton of cash. But at the same time, what it has also managed to do is hold a knife over an athlete’s head. Nobody talks about how stressful life can be for these people. They ought to perform. Else, they risk losing their livelihood. That’s not an overstatement. Professional athletes are trained to do just one thing in life. The prospect of losing everything is why a lot of these players suffer from mental health issues. A topic that isn’t oft-discussed. Whilst physical injuries could cripple a career, we must now acknowledge that so could anxiety and depression.
In this post, we’re going to take a look at a list of football players who have suffered from mental health issues in the past. Not everyone got the help they needed.
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The ‘poster child’ for mental health problems has to be Adriano. Losing his father, whom he was close to, has been cited as the reason for his issues. According to Zanetti, who spent time with him in Inter, the Brazilian was never the same since receiving that news. Adri sought the help of alcohol which only worsened his state.
6. Andres Iniesta: Big reputation, Bigger Demands
Players who have done well on the field find themselves in a pit that’s a lot deeper. They have to live up to the expectations that they’ve set for themselves. Just ask Andrés Iniesta. Injuries and the loss of a friend led him down that road. The timing couldn’t have been worse either. The Spaniard revealed, in 2018, that he had faced issues during the 2010 World Cup.
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5. Gianluigi Buffon, a wise man once said
Seek Help. Gigi Buffon is another big-name player who shared details about his problems. In his autobiography, Numero 1, the Italian goalie goes into detail about how he suffered from depression during his early days with Juve. He also mentions how he solicited the help of a psychologist to nip the problem in the bud.
4. Michael Carrick, murky skies do not help at all!
The warmness of the sun does soothe an aching soul. Players living in England do not have the luxury of its warmth either. Just ask Michael Carrick. The man played for Man Utd under SAF. Michael was part of their most successful team, but he went into depression after United lost the 2009 Champions League Final to Barça. It took him two long years to recover.
3. Danny Rose
Danny Rose is another football player who has come out and revealed that he suffered from depression due to various factors. We’re not sure if the Tottenham star has recovered completely. Jose Mourinho’s handling of his minutes shouldn’t have helped him either.
2. Marvin Sordell, depression can eject with force!
Not every player who has suffered or is suffering from mental health issues has been as lucky as some of the players already mentioned in this list. Football became too much to bear for a few of these gents. They ended their careers prematurely. Marvin Sordell, who came through the academies of Fulham and Watford, decided to call it quits in 2019. Depression was one of the reasons he retired.
1. Agostino di Bartolomei, sadly it gets worse
There have also been a few instances when players have committed suicide due to their mental problems. Agostino Di Bartolomei, who used to play for Roma, took his life due to this dreaded condition. Sadly, he isn’t the only one.
This is a problem that needs to be tackled head-on. Instead, the people responsible have just swept it under the rug until now. We’re glad to see change happening, but the pace at which the footballing community moves regarding this is worrying, to say the least.
** All images in this post are from Instagram/External sources. We do not own these pictures **.