Juventus striker Morata calls for better mental health care in football

Juventus forward Alvaro Morata has said the day will come when footballers speak to psychologists about mental health issues as part of their regular training.

Morata, 28, has revealed he came close to suffering depression during his first season at Chelsea and has seen a psychologist to help him cope with the day-to-day pressure ever since.

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“I’ve never had a depression and I hope I never do but I came close,” Morata told EL Mundo. “I don’t believe it is given the importance that it has.

“When your head doesn’t work well, you are your worst enemy. During those times, it doesn’t matter what you do, you are always fighting against yourself.

“Depression is an illness just like breaking your ankle.”

The Spain international added that mental health should be addressed in football.

“Just as we train in the gym or on the pitch to improve our technique and our tactical abilities, I believe the mind is something you also have to train,” he said. “You have to be ready and that [seeing a psychologist] helps you a lot.

“Even for my generation, in recent years, it wasn’t seen as something normal to see a psychologist. But inevitably, it has to be something normal. Today it is more common and there will be a day when it will be compulsory. There are people that go through difficult times…”

Morata revealed in 2018 during his second season at Chelsea that he was seeing a psychologist to help him deal with “pressure and emotions.”

Chelsea had paid a then club-record £58 million to sign Morata from Real Madrid as Diego Costa‘s replacement in the summer of 2017.

“Had I had a professional, close to me during my time [first season] at Chelsea, I think it would have gone better for me,” he said.

Morata, who left Chelsea in January 2019 and last summer rejoined Juventus on loan from Atletico Madrid, said he has regular sessions with a psychologist to feel better mentally.

“I do,” he said. “But it’s not a case of whether I will [mentally] fall or not again. It’s about seeing a person and sharing your point of view with someone who is impartial, who is going to be honest with you. You can’t clean your mind like you clean your teeth. You must get things out of your head. I think to talk to someone, and one that can understand you, is important.”

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