Stoke Midfielder Bojan Krkic has been subject to panic attacks through his career, and has recently come out to talk about it.
Many players face pressure throughout their career, so much so that it gets too much for them. The 25-year-old Bojan, who move to the Potteries from Barcelona in 2014, claims he suffered after being thrust into the limelight at such young age. He explained to Spanish newspaper Marca that his issues with anxiety first surfaced before a Barca game against Osasuna in January 2008.
He said: “Before the game I was dizzy at the hotel.
“The boss [Frank Rijkaard] named the team and I was starting.
“In the bus I told the doctor I did not feel well.
“He gave me a caffeine tablet and I played a good game.
“I got home and with the tension released I fell on my bed.
“Immediately I began to tremble and shake.
“My parents took me to hospital, where I spent the night.
“It was a pretty strong anxiety attack, something I could not control.
“They gave me some tablets which relaxed me.
“From that moment it all really began – I felt dizzy every day.
“It was constant, there was not one moment when I felt okay.
“I was talking medication constantly, especially when I went to training or to a game.”
Troubles continue on the international stage:
Around a month later Bojan was called up to the international spain squad. However things took a turn for the worst for the player, as he was physically unable to take part after suffering yet another panic attack.
He added: “The day of the game we were arriving at the stadium and all seemed to be going well.
“We went out onto the pitch and when I went into the dressing-room I could feel the dizziness getting stronger.
“Iniesta was beside me – ‘Andres, man, I’m dizzy, I’m dizzy,’ I said to him. I could not even get up.
“The doctors came, the physios, Fernando Hierro and Luis Aragones, and I told them what was going on.
“They told me about other players who had gone through the same with the pressure.
“We decided to tell the press it was gastroenteritis.”
Despite Bojan’s anxiety issues before the friendly, Aragones was still keen to include him in his squad for the Euro 2008.
But the gifted attacker had to turn down the call-up.
He said: “Luis [Aragones] called me the day before making public the squad.
“I said that of course I wanted to go. I was 17 and this was the Spain coach calling me for the European Championships.
“But I told him no, I just couldn’t, I did not have the strength to take on the situation.
“It hurt me a lot, any kid would want to go to the Euros, but I just couldn’t.”
Fans worldwide forget that football players are human too, and they suffer from very real conditions that can affect anyone. The pressure experienced by football players especially at a professional level is recognised as influencing playing performance. Heavy playing schedules, competition for team places, the media and fans as well as the pressure to win trophies all play a part in players developing high stress and anxiety levels.