Real Madrid defender Marcelo has detailed how he felt like he was suffocating ahead of the 2018 Champions League final.
The Brazil international played the full match as Zinedine Zidane’s side defeated Liverpool 3-1 in Kyiv, but he has outlined how anxiety made him question his own health.
The experienced full-back described how the episode started the night before the final and did not subside by the time the game kicked off, and he even confessed to breaking down in tears during the match.
“You always feel nervous, but this time it was different, I thought I was suffocating,” Marcelo told The Players Tribune, as cited by Diario AS.
“It all started the night before the final, I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, I could only think about the game.
“When you have the opportunity to make history (win three Champions League titles in a row), you feel a greater weight. And I was feeling it.
“I had never experienced such an anxiety before, I even thought about calling the doctor, but I was worried that he wouldn't let me play. And I had to play that final.
“In the dressing room I had trouble breathing, but I told myself that there were millions of children dreaming of playing such a final. I told myself to calm down and tie my shoelaces.
“I knew that for me, once on the pitch, everything would be fine, there nothing bad can happen to you, with a ball on your feet, you stop thinking.
“When I stepped onto the pitch, I still had trouble breathing, and I thought, if I have to die tonight, then I will die.
“When the ball went out for a throw-in, I had a moment to think and I started to cry, it had never happened to me before.
“I was like that for ten seconds and then I said to myself, "you have to cover your opponent!" and I came back to reality, to play as if I were a child.”
Substitute Gareth Bale scored twice during the showpiece event to guarantee Madrid secured their third successive Champions League title and their fourth in five years.