Juventus goalkeeper Gigi Buffon has revealed how he overcame depression while in the midst of the lowest point of his playing career.
The inimitable goalkeeper turned 40 on Sunday, and is expected to bring his career to an end at the end of this season.
And he has reflected on the most difficult period of his life, admitting that the success and adulation that comes with having such a reputation does not always lend itself to happiness.
Gigi Buffon on the meaning of life, overcoming depression, what it means to be a grown-up and so much more. My big (*big*) interview for @8by8mag is now up online. Read it. I'll bet you discover a side of Gigi you didn't know. https://t.co/erjeiEhzO4 #GIG1BDAY pic.twitter.com/fmn8k9vNZ2— Paolo Bandini (@Paolo_Bandini) January 29, 2018
“It’s quite something when you realize at 24 years old, 25, that your reason for being is not just going to the pitch, training, playing a good match, winning," Buffon said in an interview with Eight by Eight magazine.
“Those are fundamental things. You have to always keep them in mind. But in the middle of all this, there is an important space which you need to dedicate to yourself, to evolution.”
Buffon revealed that a spontaneous visit to an art gallery was crucial as he began to recover from his mental health issues.
“I would never have done something like that before: just wake up in a morning and go to see some paintings,” he said.
He added: “When you set out on a journey, you envisage the place that you are trying to get to and you see only fantastic things. So you fight to get there, you give the best of yourself, the beast inside of you comes out.
“And then you arrive, and you say, ‘OK, it’s beautiful here, this is a lovely place to be.’ But it never gives you that same sensation you felt when you were on the journey, when you were pounding away at yourself, trying to give everything you have.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a disappointment, to reach an objective you had been working toward. But the truly beautiful thing is that moment when you are still fighting. When you get to the end, it can be gratifying, it can give you a certain sense of peace for a while. But there is always a little bit of that familiar feeling: Oh s**t, that’s it? It ends here?”