Man Utd midfielder Paul Pogba reveals he has suffered from depression on several occasions
Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has said he has suffered from depression ‘several times’ during his career and first struggled during Jose Mourinho’s reign at Old Trafford .
The France international endured a difficult relationship with Mourinho and was dismissed as United 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, stressing that receiving a high salary does not immunize players.
“Completely, and several times in my career,” replied Pogba, when asked if he had suffered from depression in an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro.
“I’ve been there, but we don’t talk about it. Sometimes you don’t even know you have depression, you just want to be isolated, to be all alone, these are the unmistakable signs.
“From a personal point of view, it started when I was with 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 make a lot of money and we don’t complain, really. But that doesn’t stop you from going through those times in your life – like the whole world – that are more difficult than others.
“In football it’s not acceptable but we’re not superheroes, we’re just human beings.”
Former Arsenal and France striker Thierry Henry recently said there was not enough discussion about the mental health of players.
World Cup winner Pogba agreed with Henry and used international team-mate Kylian Mbappe – whose failure on penalties led to France’s Euro 2020 exit against Switzerland – for example.
“I totally agree with Titi (Henry),” said Pogba, who joined United for a world-record £89million in 2016.
“Football is the most individual of team sports.
“We are judged every three days, we have to be good all the time, even if we have problems like everyone else, whether with our partners, our coach, in everyday life.
“Of course, you’ll feel it in your body, in your head, and you may have a month or even a year where you’re not great. But you can’t say that — publicly anyway.
“It’s all in your head, the mind controls everything and all top athletes experience these moments, but very few talk about them.
“Kylian, when he missed his penalty against Switzerland, no one thought of him afterwards even though he got tons of criticism and awful things said about him.
“If you’re not mentally shielded, you’re dead in this sport. These tests will be the making of you, but you shouldn’t let your guard down.
Pogba says he speaks with former players, including former Manchester United and France defender Patrice Evra, and a psychiatrist in order to ease depression.
“I don’t want these negative moments to make me forget all my accomplishments,” he said.
“But it’s not necessarily easy and when I can’t manage on my own, I talk a lot with Tonton Pat (Evra) – former players who have been through this, because they will understand immediately.
“My psychiatrist can be my best friend, my wife or my son. Talking, being listened to, getting out all that rage and depression that’s eating away at you, it’s mandatory for me.
Pogba also revealed that his 2018 World Cup winner’s medal was among the items stolen in a recent burglary at his home.
The incident happened last Tuesday when he was playing United’s Champions League game against Atletico Madrid and with his children asleep in their bedroom under the care of a nanny.
“There were jewels from my mother, my world champion medal,” Pogba said of the stolen items.
“What scared me the most was that my two children were at home with the nanny during this incident.
“She heard everything, called my wife and security, then locked herself with the boys in a room. For several days, she was shocked. The main thing is that my children are doing well.