Bacary Sagna, born on February 14. 1983, played primarily as Arsenal’s first choice right-back for 7 seasons before joining Manchester City in 2014. In 2008, a week before the second leg of Arsenal’s Champions League tie against AC Milan, Sagna found out that his brother Omar passed away the day before his 29th birthday.
“Back home everyone was very upset, so my father told me to come back to play. The manager trusted me as well. He didn’t tell me what to do or take me out of the team, I made my own decisions and he respected them. At the end of the day, I couldn’t let the team down”Bacary Sagna – (May 24. 2020)
He scored his first Arsenal goal a month later, giving Arsenal the lead against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Unfortunately he tore his ankle ligaments in that game, an injury that ruled him out for the rest of the season. He did still manage to earn a spot in the PFA Team of the Year. However when he came back from injury, he didn’t feel like the same player from the year before.
“When I came back, everything became slow. I struggled to focus and I made mistakes. I was not myself and I knew I could perform better.”Bacary Sagna – (May 24. 2020)
Sagna is known to be a fairly quiet and reserved figure, so it may not have been obvious to his teammates that he was dealing with personal issues. Sagna said how one of the club’s psychologists approached him before a game. They talked and Sagna said it helped him a lot.
“I got my confidence back, I was more decisive and I was playing better football. I thought differently. Football used to be everything but then once the 90 minutes are over, there are other things”Bacary Sagna – (May 24. 2020)
Even the most well off in society still struggle with mental health. Taking the time to speak to somebody can make the world of difference, and asking someone if they’re feeling okay can make the world of difference to them. It’s important to remember that.
Photo by Wonker (2007)