Messi happier in Argentina than in Paris: Depression and anxiety are inevitable when club schedules overwhelm footballers

2022-05-10 0 By

The contrast between Messi’s reception in Paris and Buenos Aires is unlikely to be lost on the Argentine superstar.His final game in the French capital, just after PSG’s champions League defeat to Real Madrid, began with the PARC des Princes crowd taunting their No.30.Grande Paris then beat Bordeaux 3-0, which did little to quell the discontent with the veteran and his teammate Neymar.But last week, Messi experienced a very different greeting.Boca juniors Bombonera stadium is one of the world’s most bankable stadium, fans love idol offer an amazing applause, rocked the picturesque every corner of the old stadium, when Argentina was defeated by three goals in venezuela, messi with a goal and a solid performance to repay the fans for his love.Two 3-0 victories, but each with a very different story behind it.Messi felt the love of his adoring fans at home and breathed fresh air after being snubbed in Paris.He is not the only player to seek refuge with the national team when the club game gets too intense.”There’s a great team here.The fans love me so much and they keep showing me that.I’m very grateful, “the 34-year-old told reporters after the win.” Every time I go back to Argentina it helps me.After the Copa America win, things were even better.Everything is natural and easier on the court.Winning makes everything better and easier.”Neymar made almost the same point, putting PSG’s woes behind him by scoring in Brazil’s crushing win over Chile in Rio de Janeiro.”The maracana inspires me, the maracana inspires me to do all this, it gives me joy,” the playmaker told Brazilian television. “It’s a big surprise.The atmosphere the fans provided today was crucial for us to move forward further.”This sense of sanctuary is by no means unique to South America.On the other side of the Atlantic, Luke Shaun and Paul Pogba are grateful to be out of the woods at Manchester United, if only for a few days, and criticism of the English and French players for their outspokenness can only vindicate that view.Although the sample size is small, one conclusion can be drawn: for many, even the biggest footballers, the club game has become stifling, toxic and almost unbearable.Part of the problem, obviously, is the extraordinary physical commitment required by the top teams.Between club and international matches, Messi played 60 games in his final season with Barcelona.Even in the current season, he could break the 40-game mark.Neymar’s recurring injury problems can be attributed, at least in part, to the grueling grind of playing more than one game a week, coupled with the harsh defense he has received from overzealous players in almost every match.Pogba and Shaw have also had multiple breakdowns in their careers, both missing part of the 2021-2022 season.FIFPro, the world footballers’ federation, points out that with so many games on club schedules, it is difficult for the average player to stay fit.A 2021 report (so far not ignored) called for the introduction of compulsory breaks to protect their physical health.At clubs like Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United, the demands are arguably harsher.Here, failure is not tolerated and stars are expected to perform at their best every time they take the field.While Bayern Munich’s Lewandowski is a consummate and reliable professional, he was sharply critical of the current schedule, saying in Time in 2021: “Many people forget that we are human beings, we are not machines, and we cannot play every day at the highest level of performance.It’s going to be a big problem for football and young players to stay at the top level for many years, because now and for the next two years it’s going to be extreme: so many big games.”Of course, the physical side is only part of the story, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.In 2017, FIFPro first warned of rampant depression and anxiety among professional footballers, with rates far higher than in the general population, a problem that is only likely to be exacerbated by the outbreak’s restrictions and subsequent demands on players.As the sports psychologist Dan Abrahams says of athletes: “If you have players now looking at the schedule and seeing the crowds and knowing they’re not going to get a break in the summer, you can start to feel the situation, ‘I’m not going to have time off, I’m not sure I can cope.'” In addition to the already exhausting outlook, fans need their teams to continue to succeed, and when they fail, the players receive vitriol.Both from the stands and, increasingly, from malicious, often anonymous accounts on social media, interspersed with personal or racial slurs.Nor is the problem confined to Europe’s biggest clubs.Independiente’s Domingo Blanc has revealed he was forced to take anti-anxiety drugs and even received death threats during tense contract negotiations after being targeted by the Argentine club’s own fans.Meanwhile, in Brazil, a series of brutal attacks on players in and around football stadiums has left several people hospitalized and many pleading for more protection from the authorities.One of the most fascinating aspects of football is its ability to change results in the blink of an eye.Not so long ago, of course, messi’s situation was uncertain: he was worshipped as a demigody in Barcelona, but at home he was viewed with a fair amount of distrust and criticism.His frustration with the national team even led him to retire from the team in 2016, then reverse his decision.Still, the fact that top stars are taking refuge in the national team should be seen as a warning to the club game, not least because those in charge seem oblivious to the red flags.Every year there are more races, higher expectations and a greater chance of failure.In the circumstances, it is not surprising that Messi, Neymar, Pogba, Shaw and the rest are happier elsewhere.