Ex-Newcastle and Liverpool star Jose Enrique opens up on mental health battle in 2013

Ex-Newcastle and Liverpool star Jose Enrique opens up on mental health battle in 2013
Ex-Newcastle and Liverpool star Jose Enrique opens up on mental health battle in 2013

Former Newcastle United defender Jose Enrique has opened up about his mental health battle before retiring in 2017.

The 33-year-old was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour last year, which threatened his eyesight, before immediately undergoing surgery and radiotherapy.

However, despite overcoming a life threatening health issue, it was a knee injury in 2013 whilst at Liverpool which he believes "was the worst time" of his life.

He left Anfield in 2016 and was forced to retire a year later with a recurring knee problem when spending one season at Real Zaragoza in his homeland.

"Even after this [tumour] I say that the time after the injury was the worst of my life," Enrique told The Times, who spent four years on Tyneside.

"Before the injury, I was at a good level. I still played some games after that (in September 2013) but my knee never felt right. We couldn't work out what was wrong.

"One day I would be training well with my team-mates, the next day, I couldn't train at all. It was so frustrating and I couldn't accept it.

"I couldn't handle the injury or the fact that, physically, I couldn't play at the same level any more."

Enrique, after starring for Newcastle in the club's 2009/10 Championship winning campaign and later featuring in standouts results over Sunderland and Arsenal, left United in 2011 for £6million.

Unfortunately for the Spaniard, he was unable to rediscover his form from St James's Park with a career on Merseyside blighted by injuries, all of which led to serious mental health issues.

He added: "Mentally, I was really bad. I had anxiety and panic attacks. You're thinking too much and worrying too much and it overwhelms you and you can't breathe.

"For a time, nobody knew except Amy. I didn't want to say anything because, as a man, you sometimes feel you can't. In the end I went to a psychiatrist.

"I took medication which helped, but this was a really difficult time. Physically, I was still in good shape but I felt really down, really weak, no energy.

"People don't realise how many players go through difficulties like this. Not just the names you know but a lot of other players who haven't said anything yet."

Enrique is currently living back in Valencia with his English wife Amy as he continues his recovery.