‘I was lying to myself’: Thierry Henry opens up on battle with depression during career

Thierry Henry has opened up on his mental health struggles during his career, revealing that he thinks he was depressed while playing.

The former Arsenal and Barcelona forward was one of the world’s best footballers, winning the World Cup with France in 1998 and establishing himself as one of the London club’s greatest ever players.

But Henry has now admitted that he had to battle through periods of doubt and mental demons, with the Frenchman feeling unable to speak out about his problems while a player.

“Throughout my career, I must have been in depression,” Henry said to the Diary of a CEO podcast. “Did I know it? No. Did I do something about it? Obviously no. But I had adapted in a certain way.

“I was lying for a very long time because society wasn’t ready to hear what I had to say.”

Henry concluded his playing career as a player in 2014 and subsequently forged a career as a manager.

And it was while in charge of MLS club Montreal Impact during the Covid pandemic that Henry, unable to see his children due to lockdown restrictions, finally felt able to confront his feelings.

Thierry Henry has gone into management since concluding his playing career


“Everything came at once, especially during the Covid time,” the 46-year-old explained. “Covid happened and I asked ‘why are you running, what are you doing?’ I was isolated and not being able to see my kids for a year was tough. I don’t even need to explain that one.

“Something like that had to happen to me to understand vulnerability, empathy, crying. Understand that emotions are emotions. Anger is normal but don’t become angry. Jealousy is normal but don’t become jealous.

“I was crying almost every day for no reason, tears were coming. I don’t know why but maybe they were waiting for a very long time.

Thierry Henry details moment he realised his football playing career was over

“I don’t know whether that needed to come out. It was weird, but in a good way. There was stuff I couldn’t control and I didn’t try to.

“You have been told since you’re young, whether at home or in your job, ‘don’t be that guy, don’t show you’re vulnerable. If you cry, what are they going to think?’ I was crying but, technically, it was the young Thierry crying. He was crying for everything he didn’t get.”


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