Emmanuel Eboue has admitted that his struggle to cope with his year-long ban from football has driven him to consider suicide.
The Ivory Coast international is serving a one-year suspension from football imposed by FIFA as part of a dispute with an agent over an unpaid debt.
Eboue’s contract at Sunderland was cancelled after FIFA awarded in favour of Sebastien Boisseau, who claims he is owed a fee reportedly close to £1million for his part in the defender’s transfer to Galatasaray from Arsenal in 2011.
The 33-year-old is training with a semi-professional player in London in a bid to stay fit but he has revealed his isolation from the game over recent months has taken its toll.
“There are a lot of days when I don’t feel like getting out of bed,” he told The Daily Telegraph. “One day I wanted to kill myself. My family keep me strong, it’s them that I have to think about but if I was alone, I worry about what I’d have done to myself by now.
“There are times when I stay in my bedroom and don’t come out. One, two days in that room. Alone. I lock the door and am just thinking. I spend a lot of my time reading the Bible and will say, ‘Emmanuel, why are you doing that? It’s no good for your family’.
“My son Mathis is seven and plays for Arsenal’s academy. Every time I go there with him people ask me what’s going on and it makes it worse. ‘Emmanuel, have you retired?’ So I have to explain my situation. It makes me more depressed.
“The people who know me, when they see my face, they can tell I’m not happy. This is the lowest I’ve been in my career, it’s a bad time.”
Eboue says a lack of contact from his compatriots, including former Arsenal team-mate Kolo Toure, has made matters more difficult.
“When Kolo was serving his ban [for failing a drugs test in 2011], I was always talking to him,” he said. “He’s had some difficulties at Celtic so I understand [why he has not been in contact]. I’m not going to say something bad.
“All of them are my big brothers. I know they know my problem but I hope one day they will call me. Of course it’s disappointing. I thought the friendship was stronger. You have to be friends in difficult times. But that’s life. I take it in a good way.”
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