With footballers seemingly always put on a pedestal by fans, it’s often forgotten that they are human beings like the rest of us, and suffer the same daily struggles.
Whilst it’s true that players are mostly financially sound, money clearly isn’t everything.
Arsenal star, Hector Bellerin, speaking to Michael Timbs on his Tea with Timbsy show on YouTube, cited by the Daily Mail, opened up on his mental health and alcohol problems when he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament which ensured a significant time spent on the sidelines.
“It was the first time that I had got injured like that, and I had friends and teammates that had gone through it before, I had my family next to me, but I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen to me,,” Bellerin said.
“I talk about an experience when I came back and I wasn’t really training and I started going out a lot.
“I started drinking and all this stuff and you know for a footballer that’s not what you’re supposed to say but it’s the truth.
“We have our issues, we have our mental health problems. And when football, which is basically your identity gets taken out of you, we find it difficult.
“Obviously London is a town that offers a lot of distractions and it’s really easy when you don’t feel you have a responsibility – obviously I knew I had to recover, but I didn’t have to train or play – my mind kind of just went elsewhere.’
Though the right-back would probably be the first to admit that the Gunners have underperformed in their 2020/21 campaign, that Bellerin is well again can’t be understated.
For far too long, the pressures of playing sport at elite level have been ignored. By opening up and being completely honest, the player will have done wonders for many of his colleagues in the game who perhaps haven’t felt compelled to speak up to this point.