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 7 footballers who battled depression and spoke about it

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Andres Iniesta
Andres Iniesta. Photo/FC Barcelona Noticias
  • The emotional toll is as hard for fans as it is for players which thrust some players into depression
  • Football is a game of emotions and it is evident by shows of men crying after their teams losing
  • Every day, players have to deal with a great deal of stress especially if their teams lose
  • Paul Pogba paints a grim picture of a footballers life

Football is a game of emotions and it is evident by shows of men crying after their teams lose. But the emotional toll is as hard for fans as it is for players which is why we discuss footballers who battled depression.

Football fans throughout the world feel a wide range of emotions when watching a 90-minute game on television. When it comes to sports enthusiasts, everyone has a story about how their team almost caused them to have a heart attack.

It should not be difficult for us to sympathise with professional footballers or any other athlete if that’s the case. Every day, they have to deal with a great deal of stress.

Sportsleo brings you a list of footballers who battled depression.


Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba. Photo/Sky Sports

Manchester United recently admitted to battling depression.  While his team was losing to Atletico Madrid recently, the midfielder’s home was burgled, with his children inside.

Pogba opened up about his issues with depression after his most recent and most painful experience since returning to England.

In the words of Pogba says that throughout his career, he struggled with depression, but never talks about it. He says that isolation and the need to spend time alone are clear symptoms that you’re dealing with a mental health problem.

He adds that football is the most individualised team sport. Each player is judged three times a week, therefore they must always perform their best which is not always the case.

A loss ends up in adding to the list of footballers who battled depression.


Successful athletes find themselves at the bottom of a much deeper hole. They must live up to the standards they have set for themselves in order to achieve their goals.

For proof, look no further than Andrés Iniesta. There were many reasons for him to go down that path. The timing was also disastrous. The Spanish footballer admitted to having problems at the 2010 World Cup when he spoke out in 2018.


Adriano has to be the ‘poster child’ for mental health issues. Some attribute his problems to having lost his father, with whom he had a close relationship.

Zanetti, who worked with him at Inter, claims that the Brazilian has never been the same since hearing the news. Adri turned to drink for relief, but that only made things worse.

He joined a list of footballers who battled depression out of alcoholism.


The warmth of the sun is a comfort to a weary spirit. Players who reside in England are also deprived of the country’s pleasant climate.

Michael Carrick can attest to this. SAF used to coach this player at Manchester United. After Manchester United’s Champions League Final defeat to Barcelona in 2009, Michael, a member of their most successful squad, fell into deep despair.

He was out of commission for two years before he was able to return to work.




Another well-known player, Gigi Buffon opened up about his personal struggles. Popularly known as Gigi Buffon during his early days with Juventus, the Italian goalkeeper became one of the footballers who battled depression.

He detailed it all in his book, Numero 1. He also reveals that he sought the advice of a psychotherapist to assist him deal with the issue.

He advises footballers to seek assistance whenever they feel pushed to a corner.


Footballer Danny Rose is yet another player who spoke out about his battle with depression. He attributed it to a wide range of circumstances. Jose Mourinho’s handling of his time on the pitch should have been of no help either.


Unfortunately, not every player who has dealt with or is currently dealing with mental health issues has had the same success as some of the others.

This is especially true for younger footballers who battled depression. Football had simply been too much for a few of these gentlemen to bear. They were compelled to retire early in their careers due to unforeseen circumstances.

It was in the summer of 2019 when Marvin Sordell, a product of the Fulham and Watford development, decided to retire. His retirement was hastened in part by a bout of depression.

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