Former Arsenal defender, Emmanuel Eboue has said he battled suicidal thoughts following his one-year ban from football over a contractual dispute with a former agent.
Eboue, 33, was suspended by FIFA from all football activities in March due to the disagreement with his representative and immediately had his contract with Sunderland terminated despite having signed for the club earlier in the month.
The former Ivory Coast international has since then been restricted to training with a semi-professional player he met in London in a bid to stay fit while he serves his ban.
“There are a lot of days when I don’t feel like getting out of bed,” Eboue, whose grandfather and brother both passed away in October, said. “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 I’m 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.”
Even once Eboue’s ban is served, however, he may still not be permitted to return to football activity until he has settled a debt with his old agent Sebastien Boisseau, reported to be in the region of £1 million.
The full-back had been hoping to count on the support of his old Ivory Coast team-mates, but he admits Didier Drogba and Romaric are the only two to have got in contact with him.