Manchester City star David Silva has described how football became his only 'escape' during a difficult period as his prematurely born son Mateo battled with a number of health complications.
The Mirror quoted an interview from the BBC's Premier League show where Silva explained how difficult a time last season was for him, despite all the successes on the pitch, as he desperately stayed strong for his young son.
The 32-year-old was also forced to face regular travelling as son Mateo was being treated back in Spain, affecting how often the midfield star could train.
Silva said: "It was really tough. It was so difficult, him being in hospital for so long. Besides, he was in Spain, meaning I had to travel a lot and could hardly train.
"I didn’t sleep much, I wasn’t eating well. But luckily the team helped me a lot."
Speaking with Gary Lineker, the former England striker was able to relate to Silva's troubles when during his own playing career his first son George was diagnosed with leukaemia at just two months old.
Lineker described that "football was the one place I could escape", a sentiment Silva agreed with.
The Spaniard added: "The only time I could get it out of my mind was when I was playing. Then I would start thinking about everything once the match was over.
"But yes, it was a really good escape. Football was what we like and enjoy most.”
After several months in hospital in Spain, Mateo recovered and grew strong enough to be allowed to come home.
Silva proudly carried his infant son onto the pitch at the Etihad ahead of City's Premier League clash with Huddersfield earlier this month.