Barcelona and Spain legend Andres Iniesta is perhaps one of the more well-documented cases of mental health struggles in football. As time has gone on, the 38-year-old has become increasingly open about his battles with depression.
Following a treble victory with Barcelona, Iniesta went through a spell of injuries that kept him out for much of the 2009-10 season. Unable to get on the pitch, he lost his lust for life.
Speaking to The Wild Project, Iniesta explained that numbness that invaded him during that time.
“When I was fighting depression, the best time of day was when I took my pills and went to bed. I lost the will to live. I hugged my wife, but it was like hugging a pillow. You don’t feel anything.”
Mundo Deportivo carried his comments. Iniesta also remarked that regardless of what his happening in your life or how good things appear, mental illness is still a threat – just as with a physical injury.
“I keep going to therapy because I need to mend things with myself. I like to hear professionals talk about mental illness and depression. Over time, life teaches you that depression and mental illness can affect anyone. It’s not about material things I can have all the cars in the world and everything I want, but still it is difficult to face the problems of life.”
Iniesta is one of a number of footballers that have spoken out about the difficulties they have faced, as football as a whole moves towards normalising the conversation.
Still playing for Vissel Kobe in Japan, he has recently admitted he could be tempted into returning to Barcelona at some point.