Newcastle United's Yohan Cabaye has revealed how he battled back from depression following a strenuous debut season in English football and France's Euro 2012 campaign.
The Frenchman lifted the lid on how he was drained following the tournament and admitted that it was reading books by rugby legend Jonny Wilkinson and tennis star Rafael Nadal that helped him through the troubling times.
The 27-year-old is a fans’ favourite at St James' Park and has been a star performer ever since arriving on Tyneside, but believes that the physical pressures of his first season in England followed by the European Championships left him desperate for time to recuperate after a gruelling schedule.
Cabaye, who signed from Lille in 2011, attributes a lot to Wilkinson's and Nadal's books as they helped him in his recovery period, with the two sportsmen describing their experiences after suffering from similar conditions.
The midfielder maestro started the season still under the effects of depression, and described picking up a groin injury that kept him out for two months as a blessing in disguise.
“Depression? I am not afraid to say that. It was that," he told French newspaper L'Equipe.
"But I was reassured after reading books by Jonny Wilkinson and Rafael Nadal in which they both talked about the same thing. They recalled post-competition depression and the need to have a break, and explained that their bodies could not keep up any more.
"I asked myself questions. It was the first time that something like that happened to me, and it was a challenge. You often hear others talking about it and as long as it doesn’t happen to you, you can’t understand it. When it involves you, however, you realise that it’s not easy to manage.”
Cabaye continued by recounting his 11-month season, and admits his body started doings things it wasn’t supposed to.
“My season had been long, in a league where the pace is higher than in Ligue 1. I started with Newcastle at the start of July 2011, finished at the end of June 2012, and it was the first time that I hadn’t had a break in December,” he added.
“Suddenly, on resuming at the end of July 2012, I felt bad. My body wasn’t doing what I wanted it to do. When I woke up in the morning I felt a general fatigue. My groin injury was a blessing in disguise. My operation was beneficial. That’s perhaps why I returned faster than expected.
"Physically, I feel perfectly fine now and I am keen to fight for the club. Now that episode is over, I have much more fun going to daily training sessions. I realise how lucky I am.”