The tragic death of German goalkeeper Robert Enke has given us all some much-needed perspective. As much as top professional players are glorified, they are still people like you and me.
Enke threw himself infront of a train on Tuesday night, after suffering from depression since 2002. His struggle with depression was not helped by Enke and his widow Teresa losing thier young daughter in 2006 to a birth heart defect.
Today’s football stars are paraded around as the marketing tools they are. But the tragedy of Enke reminds us that they have a human side. David Beckham’s haircut and Christiano Ronaldo’s move to Madrid are just some of the headline-grabbing news players have experienced in recent years.
But footballers experience the same problems we do, and have their lives examined every moment of every day. Enke, who was likely to start in goal for Germany in next summer’s World Cup kept his problems secret. It is no wonder, given the scrutiny players are put under.
The end of his career
It’s not unreasonable to think Enke’s career contributed to his suicide. He loved playing football, but worried if people found out about his depresion, it would end his career.
Hopefully, Enke’s death will help people think twice before labelling footballers. The steriotype isn’t flattering. They are seen as selfish, greedy, stupid, aggressive and arrogant. A little bit of perspective wouldn’t go amiss, and our celebrity culture will have to take some blame.
Enke’s playing career
Robert Enke started his career at his home club FC Carl Zeiss Jena before moving to Bundesliga side Borussia Monchengladbach in 1996. Enke left for Portugal following Borussia’s relegation in 1999.
His move to Benfica saw him become club captain under German coach Jupp Heynckes. Benfica did not have a good few years while Enke was there, but this was not down to him. He attracted the attention of several big European clubs including Manchester United while in Portugal.
He finally secured a free transfer to Barcelona in 2002 but only played two games for the Spanish giants. He was loaned out to Fenerbache and Teneriffe before returning home to Germany in 2004.
His return to Germany saw him sign for Hanover where he enjoyed one of the most successful spells of his career. He won goalkeeper of the season twice and became Hanover’s captain. During this time he became involved in the German national team, winning eight caps.
Something to think about
Enke’s career was cut short tragically. His death has shocked the world and hopefully the pressure players are under and the scrutiny of their lives will not cause another disaster.
Hopefully something will be learnt from Enke’s death, and players with problems will not feel they have to hide from society to carry on with thier lives.
Also See: There is more to life than Football by Joe Groff.