Michael Carrick has opened up on his struggles with depression following the 2009 Champions League final. Manchester United were beaten 2-0 by Barcelona in Rome, with Samuel Eto’o and Lionel Messi scoring the goals to win it for the Catalan side. The former United player, and current part of Jose Mourinho’s back-room staff, said that he blames himself for the first Barcelona goal, after a loose header gifted the ball to them before Eto’o opened the scoring.
“It was the biggest low of my career by quite some way and I don’t really know why,” he told The Times. “I thought I’d let myself down in the biggest game of my career. I had won the Champions League the year before, but that was totally irrelevant.
“It felt like I was depressed. I was really down. I imagine that is what depression is. I describe it as depression because it wasn’t a one-off thing. I felt bad or terrible after some games, but then you get over it in the next couple of days, but that one I just couldn’t shrug off. It was a strange feeling.
“I beat myself up over that [Eto’o] goal. I kept asking myself, ‘Why did I do that?’, and then it [the depression] snowballed from there. It was a tough year after that. It lingered for a long time.”
Carrick added that he never told anybody how bad he was, and that he even wanted to leave the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and return home.
“In 2010, that was the worst time,” he added. “It was my dream to be at a World Cup but the truth is that I didn’t want to be there. I wanted to be at home. I was telling Lisa [Carrick’s wife] ‘I’ve had enough. I want to come home’.
“I wouldn’t have done but that’s how I felt. I kept it to myself most of the time. Even my family didn’t know the full extent of it.
“I have not spoken about it before. For the lads that I have played with that are reading this, this will be the first time that they know [about the depression]. They wouldn’t have known.”
Nobody knows what Carrick has gone through, until now. It is great to see more and more high-profile people opening up about their struggles. It will certainly help other people that may be going through the same thing.
If you are struggling in any way, make sure you open up and speak to somebody about it. Keeping things bottled up won’t help.