Brazilian superstar Ronaldo Nazario has one of the most fascinating careers in footballing history and was one of the most mesmerising footballers ever seen. As such, he has recently released a documentary called the ‘The Phenomenon: the rise, the fall and the redemption.’
Speaking at the launch event for that film in Madrid, Ronaldo opened up on various stages of his career but also some of the battles he had to face. Marca reported his comments, including on his mental battles.
Ronaldo explained that there was no real language available to footballers at the time and he was not sure what was happening to him. He confirmed that it was depression.
“Yes, nowadays I do therapy. I have been going for two and a half years and I have a much better understanding, even of things I felt before.”
“But well, I am from a generation where they threw you into the arena and you have to do the best you could without the slightest possibility of drama. I look back and I see that yes, we were exposed to a very very big mental stress and without any preparation for that.”
He was more positive about the fact these days, players have far more help.
“Also because it was the start of the internet era, with the speed that information travels at. In that period there was no form of concern for the mental health of the players. Now they are much better prepared, they are given medical attention, including the necessary attention in order to tackle every day and all of the players are studied more: the profiles of everyone, how they react, how they should react….”
“In my era there was nothing of the sort, unfortunately because it has been known forever that football can put [you] under a lot of stress and it can be very determinative for the rest of your life.”
Ronaldo is merely the latest to open up on what is clearly a common if unspoken problem within football. Currently in La Liga, Espanyol captain Sergi Darder has also spoken about some of the mental health issues he has dealt with in the past.