Gianluigi Buffon has written a heartfelt letter to his younger self, revealing his battle with depression and far-right regrets.
Buffon will go down in history as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, but the Juventus veteran detailed the struggles he encountered during his career in a long read on The Players’ Tribune.
He detailed an anecdote from when he was 17 years old and about to make his Serie A debut, but went out drinking with a teammate from the youth squad and ended the night urinating on the wheel of a police car at 1am.
“The officers will not find it amusing, the club will not find it amusing, and you will risk everything that you’ve worked for," wrote Buffon.
“This is the kind of chaos that you bring upon yourself, for no reason. There is a burning inside you that will lead you to make mistakes. Of course, you think that you are showing your teammates that you’re strong and free, but in reality, this is a mask that you wear."
Buffon has spoken at length about his battle with depression and believes it all started when he felt the need to be fearless in the role of goalkeeper, but let the rest of his life wither away.
"Eventually, you will become so depressed that you won’t even want to leave your bed. You can laugh if you want, but this will happen to you. It will happen at the height of your career, when you have everything a man could ever want in life. You will be 26 years old. The keeper of Juventus and the Italian national team. You will have money and respect. People will even call you Superman.
“But you’re no superhero. You’re just a man like anyone else. And the truth is that the pressure of this profession can turn you into a robot.
“All you’ll want to do is sleep. At training, every save will feel like a titanic effort. For seven months, you will have a hard time finding joy in life."
Ever since he was at Parma, there have been reports Buffon was inspired by far right ideology, but he assures yet again he simply didn't know the origins of the term 'Boia chi molla,' having seen it carved on a desk at school and thinking it was a "motivational cry."
“Mistakes are important, because they remind you that you’re human. This is good, because football will do an excellent job of trying to convince you that you are special. But you must remember that you are no different from the bartender or the electrician, who you will be friends with for life.
“This is what will get you out of your depression. Not remembering that you are special, but remembering that you are the same as everyone else. You cannot comprehend this now, at 17 years old, but I promise you that real courage is showing weakness and not being ashamed."
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