Juventus striker Alvaro Morata has admitted that he came close to suffering with depression during his time at Chelsea, believing he would have fared better in his first season at Stamford Bridge had he seen a sports psychologist.
The forward joined the Blues from Real Madrid in a then club-record £58m deal in 2017, but endured a difficult time in the Premier League and left the west Londoners for Atletico Madrid 18 months later after netting 24 times in 72 appearances.
Looking back at his spell with Chelsea, Morata has admitted that he was struggling with his mental health.
“I’ve never had 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 should.
“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 28-year-old began seeing a psychologist during his second season in England, and he says accessing mental health support should be the norm.
“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,” Morata added. “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.
“Had I had a professional, close to me during my (first season) at Chelsea, I think it would have gone better for me.”