Former Liverpool and Wales striker Craig Bellamy says he has been diagnosed with depression.
Bellamy revealed he has been taking medication for three years and says injuries made his condition worse.
“For the last three, four years I’ve been diagnosed with depression, I’m a man of depression. I can’t get away from that,” he told Sky Sports.
“I’ve been medicated for three years and this is the first time I’ve ever spoken about it.”
He added: “I’ve had ridiculous highs and massive lows.
“The injuries didn’t help. The injuries were so, so difficult to try to overcome. I felt tortured. This wasn’t what I expected my football career to be like. I didn’t want to sprint, it hurt too much.”
Bellamy, who played 78 times for Wales and represented Great Britain at the 2012 Olympic Games, played close to 300 Premier League games, scoring 81 goals.
Speaking in Mental Health Awareness Week, Bellamy explained how his career was the pinnacle of his depression.
“During my career my depression was worse, way worse, the emotional side… I’d come home and wouldn’t speak for three days,” he said.
“I had a wife, young family and I literally wouldn’t talk. I would shut myself away in a room and then I would go to bed on my own. That was the only way I could deal with depression.
“Football’s only here a short time, that’s why you probably see a lot of footballers – more from our generation – do struggle with it.
“I’ve never spoken about it, I don’t really feel it’s anyone’s business to talk about it, I’m quite private in what I do.
“Very few people know. My private life is very, very private to me, I always want to keep that separate. You only see what I want you to see.”
Bellamy said his lowest point came at Newcastle, aged 23, when tendinitis in both knees made him want to quit playing altogether as he rejected interest from Manchester United.
“I was struggling with tendinitis in both knees and just wanted my career to be over,” he added.
“Newcastle had invested heavily in me and I felt I couldn’t justify it.
“I remember Manchester United were interested in me as well, that summer, but I knew I couldn’t go there.
“I knew I was in no position to compete with the likes of the players they had there.
“Having to deal with that was the toughest time during my career. It becomes a relief when you have an operation.”
Bellamy is working as Belgian club Anderlecht’s Under-21 coach and says he feels his experiences help him as a coach.
He was previously Cardiff City’s Under-18s coach, stepping down in 2019. He subsequently apologised “if I inadvertently offended anyone” following the club’s decision to investigate a bullying claim made during his time there.
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