Former Arsenal midfielder Denilson speaks about his depression in London: Dear Lord, is this my life?

15.1.2021.  
Former Arsenal midfielder Denilson speaks about his depression in London: Dear Lord, is this my life?

Former and slightly forgotten Arsenal midfielder Denilson spoke openly about his troubles at the Emirates as the young player suffered from depression. Shinning a light on the rarely discussed part of footballer's life, differing from the glamour, excitement, idolisation, and full bank accounts that mostly get tabloid attention.


One of the three young Brazilian midfielders that moved to a Premier League side at a similar time - alongside Manchester United's Anderson and Liverpool's Lucas Leiva.


Denilson moved to London in 2006, when he was 18 only and went on to play 153 games for the club, scoring 10 goals and making 14 assists. Winning no trophies though. But that was the least of his worries, as loneliness struck hard.


"Going home after training was fine, but after a game, I’d just played in front of 60,000 fans cheering for me. I’d have a shower at the stadium and go home, but once I got there I found myself alone. I’d log on to MSN Messenger hoping to speak to someone, to see if anyone had watched my game, but there was no one online," said Denilson to FourFourTwo.


That affected the now 32-year-old greatly.


"That sort of thing started to affect me, as you think to yourself, ‘The match is over, I want to talk to someone, but there’s no one around’. People only see us as professionals, but they forget we’re also human beings."


Now having a family of his own, Denilson is fine playing in the Maltese league. But his issues at Arsenal echo to this day.


"That sort of thing started to affect me, as you think to yourself, ‘The match is over, I want to talk to someone, but there’s no one around’. People only see us as professionals, but they forget we’re also human beings."


English weather didn't help either.


"Some days, I was feeling all right and wanted to go for a walk in the afternoon. But then you see the weather – it was depressing and you give up. I thought, ‘Dear God, is this my life?’ You don’t have anyone to talk to, no one online to chat to and discuss stuff other than football."


Even though Denilson had a compatriot Gilberto Silva in the squad, his depression and anxiety robbed him of a relationship with him too.


"I struggled a lot with that but didn’t mention it to anyone. I kept it all to myself. I never told Gilberto Silva, for example. He often invited me to his house, but I never felt comfortable. I thought, ‘He has his own life, his wife and his kids. I don’t want to keep bothering him’. One Christmas, he invited me and I didn’t go. I stayed locked up at home, alone, as I didn’t want to inconvenience him."



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