Iniesta and how he beat mental health struggles

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BERNAT LÓPEZ / ©XTREMFOOTBALL

FC Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta has spoken out about his mental health struggles following the death of his friend in 2009. The Barcelona legend revealed he felt he could not “take it anymore” after Espanyol captain Dani Jarque suffered a heart attack at the age of 26 during pre-season training.

“I wished the night would come so I could take a pill”, he revealed in Spanish TV show ‘Salvados’. “When you suffer from depression, it’s not you, when you’re so vulnerable it’s difficult to control life’s moments”, explained Iniesta.

With the World Cup on the horizon, Iniesta decided to seek professional help to deal with his depression. “I had the ability to see that I needed to see someone to get out of that situation. The important thing is that in that period I never lost the spark”, the playmaker said.

In 2016 Iniesta told the Guardian some more details about the process he followed to beat depression: “There are moments when your mind is very vulnerable. You feel a lot of doubts. Every person is different, every case. What I’m trying to explain is that you can go from being in good shape to being in a bad way very quickly”.

“I never reached the point of saying: ‘I’m giving up.’ I understood that I was enduring a delicate moment but I took refuge in my people and, above all, in football”, he added.

Message for Mourinho

During his Salvados interview, Iniesta recalled the strong rivalry Real Madrid-Barcelona at the time when the Portuguese José Mourinho trained the white team. “Mourinho was the key component in the bad relationship that existed at that time between Barça and Madrid”, he said.

“Whoever does not want to see it goes beyond the limits of radicalism, which hurt the national team a lot, it was surreal, you did not see the same rivalry, you saw hatred, that environment was cultivated and it was unbearable”, revealed Iniesta.