FORMER Arsenal striker Jeremie Aliadiere has lifted the lid on his battle with depression following his premature retirement in football.
While the ex-Middlesbrough ace has also spoken on an amazing gesture from mentor Arsene Wenger in 2011 when he was recovering from a cruciate ligament injury.
The 35-year-old’s last match came on May 20, 2017 for Lorient where he was hauled off after an hour – unaware that would be the last time he would play a competitive match.
Despite feeling as though he had more to give, no clubs were prepared to take a risk on Aliadiere – who was a part of the Gunners’ 2003/04 Invincible side.
Speaking on the harsh reality of not being wanted by teams, he told football.london: “You start feeling depressed. ‘What am I doing?
“I used to get up every morning to train, enjoy it every day, enjoy the environment, the dressing room, the jokes.
“Suddenly there’s nothing. My kids and my wife, their lives still go on. Your whole life ends, basically.”
While he also added: “If I didn’t have my kids and wife I’d probably be in the worst, worst place.
“You hear of a lot of footballers who lose the plot when they retire, who blow their money on gambling, drink, drugs. You need to find something to give you the same importance, the same adrenaline as when you were playing.”
Aliadiere – who left Arsenal in 2007 to join Boro – also spoke on how Wenger let him train at London Colney when he was a free agent in 2011 having seen a move to West Ham fall through due to a knee injury.
Speaking of the Frenchman, he commented: “Arsene said: ‘Listen, forget about this season, just come to us, train with us, get back fit. This is your home. I’ll see you tomorrow at 9am.’ That was it.
“If I didn’t have my kids and wife I’d probably be in the worst, worst place.”
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YOU'RE NOT ALONE
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“You don’t get that from many people, not just in football. When you work with someone you work with them and then eventually you go your separate ways.
“But Arsene… to help someone three, four years after they’ve left the club, I’ll always be grateful for him.”
Aliadiere – who banged in 11 goals in 75 games for the North London side – now works for Arsenal’s media channel where he often commentates on their games.