Kevin-Prince Boateng has admitted that he almost walked away from football after former club Schalke banned him indefinitely in 2015.
The midfielder told Kicker that his heart was no longer in the beautiful game after he was banned from playing for the Bundesliga side by sporting director Horst Heldt.
Boateng and team mate Sidney Sam were suspended by Schalke during a run of just two wins in 12 matches, with the club citing an ongoing lack of effort as the main reason why the duo were told they were no longer allowed to play.
It was a decision that hit the Ghana international hard, and he stated that he gave serious thought to hanging up his boots and retiring before his wife offered up some advice.
He said: "I thought about quitting. Why not? I've earned a lot of money, I saw everything and I have a wonderful family. What should I do anymore?
"But I only had these thoughts for two days. My wife said, 'You can think about the end of your career one day, but tomorrow you'll get up and go to training'."
Now part of the first-team squad at fellow German top flight team Eintracht Frankfurt, Boateng also explained why the media and football fans had to think twice about the level of criticism they throw at players in the modern era.
Citing the unnecessary death of goalkeeper Robert Enke, the 30-year-old claimed that footballers were not "robots" and felt just as much pain and emotional distress as any other worker in their field of expertise.
He added: "If you think about Robert Enke's suicide, one per cent of that was to do with the press and the whole hubbub.
"If we take a look at all the articles which were written about me, who knows what I would do if I was not strong in my mind. There have been days where I have said, 'I can't go any longer'.
"I'm not only criticised because of my performances. It can happen that you play badly. A mark of six [the lowest rating]? OK, I deserved it.
"But when personal things are written to hurt you, that must not be the case. But we footballers are like robots who have to accept everything."