Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has said he has experienced depression “several times” in his career and first struggled during Jose Mourinho’s tenure at Old Trafford.
The France international had a difficult relationship with Mourinho and was sacked as United’s vice-captain in September 2018 before the Portuguese was sacked three months later.
He believes it is difficult for professional footballers to speak openly about mental health issues and stresses that a high salary does not make players immune.
“Completely and several times throughout my career,” Pogba replied in an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro when asked if he had experienced depression.
“I’ve been through it, but we don’t talk about it. Sometimes you don’t even know you’re depressed, you just want to be isolated, to be all alone, those are the telltale signs.
“Personally, it started when I was dating Jose Mourinho in Manchester.
“You wonder if there’s something wrong with you because you’ve never had those moments in your life.
“Of course we earn a lot of money and we don’t really complain. But that doesn’t stop you from going through those moments in your life – like the whole world – that are more difficult than others.
We’re not superheroes, we’re just humansPaul Pogba on footballers
“It’s not acceptable in football, but we’re not superheroes, we’re just people.”
Former Arsenal and France striker Thierry Henry recently expressed his view that players’ mental health is not sufficiently discussed.
World champion Pogba agreed with Henry, citing his national team-mate Kylian Mbappe – whose penalty shoot-out miss saw France eliminated from Euro 2020 by Switzerland – as an example.
“I totally agree with Titi (Henry),” said Pogba, who returned to United in 2016 for a then-world-record £89m.
“Football is the most individual team sport.
“One is judged every three days, we always have to be good, although we all have worries, be it with our partners, our coach, in everyday life.
“Of course you’ll feel it in your body, in your head, and you can have a month, even a year if you’re not great. But you can’t say it – publicly anyway.
“Everything is in your head, the mind controls everything and all top athletes go through those moments but very few talk about it.
“Kylian, when he missed his penalty against Switzerland, no one thought about him after that, despite hearing tons of criticism and terrible things about him.
“If you’re not mentally shielded, you’re dead in this sport. These tests will tax you, but you must not be on your guard.”
Pogba says he speaks to former players including ex-Manchester United and France defender Patrice Evra and a psychiatrist to help ease depression.
“I don’t want these negative moments to make me forget all my achievements,” he said.
“But it’s not necessarily easy and if I can’t do it on my own I talk a lot with Tonton Pat (Evra) – former players who have experienced it because they will understand straight away.
“My psychiatrist can be my best friend, my wife or my son. To speak, to be heard, to let out all that anger and that nagging depression is a duty for me.”
Pogba also revealed that his 2018 world champion’s medal was among the items stolen in a recent break-in at his home.
The main thing is that my children are doing wellPaul Pogba on the recent break-in at his home
The incident happened last Tuesday while he was playing in United’s Champions League game against Atletico Madrid and his children were asleep in their bedroom with the care of a nanny.
“There were jewels from my mother, my world champion medal,” Pogba said of the items taken.
“What scared me the most was that my two children were at the nanny’s house during this incident.
“She overheard everything, called my wife and security, and then locked herself in a room with the boys. She was shocked for several days. The main thing is that my children are doing well.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/man-utd-midfielder-paul-pogba-reveals-he-has-suffered-depression-several-times-41478279.html Man Utd midfielder Paul Pogba revealed he has suffered from depression on several occasions