Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno has admitted that he no longer bothers to read messages on social media following a truly heartbreaking comment he once received.
Leno, 28, joined Arsenal 2018 following a £22.5m move from Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen.
Since the German keeper’s arrival in the country’s capital, Leno has enjoyed a fairly decent spell and is widely regarded as one of the best shot-stoppers in the league.
However, in a shocking interview with Sky Sports, the 28-year-old keeper has revealed that a rare poor performance prompted him to avoid social media.
“Of course I have a lot of experience with that, here and also in Germany. There was one thing that kept in my mind, it was crazy,” Leno said. “I had a very bad game and then one guy on social media said to me ‘do it like Enke’.
For anyone who is unfamiliar with who Enke is – Robert Enke was a German goalkeeper who began his career in 1995 and famously turned out for Benfica and Barcelona, as well as Hannover 96.
However, in a shocking and tragic turn of events, the former keeper sadly took his own life in 2009.
Continuing to expand on why he does his best to avoid the toxicity of social media, Leno added: “Since I read this I realise that there are so many stupid people on social media. That is the reason I don’t read it even when everything is good. I don’t need that, it doesn’t make me better, it is wasting time.
“There are so many fake people that hide behind their computers to make you feel bad. Many times with racism, abuse to families, I don’t like it, I don’t read it. It affects your life, what is the point?”
Leno’s shocking revelation comes at a time when there are major calls for social media companies to do more to prevent hate speech.
Recently, Manchester United trio Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Axel Tuanzebe have all reported receiving racial abuse from anonymous users on both Instagram and Twitter.
Leno’s heartbreaking story really does show the effects words can have, even if they are through a digital screen.
In a day and age where communicating is effortless and instant, we, as a society and as individuals really do need to shut up if we don’t have anything nice to say.