It can be very easy to judge footballers from afar, forgetting the human side of the game. Only afterwards when they open up about it do you feel the full gravity of a situation.
Former Barcelona and Atletico Madrid player Arda Turan has opened up on his own mental health issues. Renowned for his hot temper and tough tackling that went with his quick feet, Turan was one of the largest characters in Spanish football during his time there.
Speaking at an event at the Istanbul Kent University, Turan was remarkably honest on his health after a tricky spell back in Turkey with Basaksehir and latterly Galatasaray.
“I’ve had problems sleeping for years, I can’t sleep well. It’s a confession, but I don’t look after myself well. The reason is purely psychological. There were moments in which I couldn’t recover well psychologically.”
“I started with a diet and I ditched it after 10 days. I started to work and then I thought I was beaten. I don’t blame anyone, but the atmosphere in the country demotivated me [Turkey]. Not being able to progress, demotivated me.”
“I looked after myself much better in Spain because I felt much more free. There’s nothing better than feeling free. I look at my adventure in Spain as a complete story, I had some very good days [there].”
Diario AS covered the quotes in his interview, in which he was also asked about the infamous boot-throwing incident. Atletico Madrid were playing Barcelona in the Copa del Rey quarter-final and had just been denied a penalty, before Barcelona scored.
Arda was already irate leading up to the moment of tension, when he launched his boot at the linseman.
“The attitude of the referee was very harsh with us and very polite with the Barcelona players. I was very annoyed because of this and then in another play Alves and Rakitic stood on my foot with their studs and my boot came off, the referee said ‘continue’. I know well that it was completely incorrect, but I admit it’s a lovely memory.”