Matias Almeyda has made stunning claims in his new book about his alcoholism, the medication given to him at Parma and Roma players asking for “a favour.”
The Argentine midfielder released his autobiography, titled ‘Almeyda, Life and Soul’, which covers his many years spent in Serie A with Lazio, Parma, Inter and Brescia.
Currently the Coach of River Plate, Almeyda confessed to drinking so much alcohol while at Inter that he went into a coma.
“Once in Azul I drank wine as if it was cola. I ran 5km to get it out of my system, until I saw the sun spinning round. A doctor put me on a drip for five hours to recover.
“It would’ve been a scandal, as I was playing for Inter at the time. When I woke up and saw my family around my hospital bed, I thought I was at my funeral.”
Almeyda also alleged a strange practice the club doctors had at Parma during his spell in 2000-02.
“They put us on drips and before a game I felt like I could jump up to the ceiling. They told us it was a combination of vitamins. Players don’t really ask for more details than that.
“At Inter, after a couple of bad injuries, my depression began. I had nothing to do except think and one day I couldn’t feel my hand, then lost the feeling down half my body. An Inter psychologist diagnosed me with panic attacks, but I didn’t follow her instructions.
“Only after my daughter drew a picture of me as a tired and sad lion did I realise I had to do something. From that day, I regularly take anti-depressants and medication to help suppress my panic attacks. They make me a better person.”
Perhaps the allegation that will cause the biggest shockwave is that Parma were asked to ‘throw’ the decisive Scudetto match against Roma on June 17, 2001.
“Some of my Parma teammates told me the Roma players wanted us to lose the game,” wrote Almeyda.
“As we were mid-table and not playing for any particular objective, they said it wouldn’t make a difference to us.
“I said no, so did Nestor Sensini and the majority of my teammates. However, on the field I saw some who did not run as hard as they usually did. So I asked to be substituted and went to the locker room.
“Was money involved? I don’t think so, they called it ‘a favour.’”