Robert Enke: Remembering former Germany and Hannover goalkeeper, 10 years on

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By Joe Lynskey
BBC Sport
About 10 November 2009, the Germany team were at their hotel restaurant preparing for a house game against Chile. Assistant coach Oliver Bierhoff stood up to tell them some information.
No-one talked for 25 minutes, recalls the former Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker.
No-one could believe it, nobody could state a word, no-one could do anything.
Bierhoff had told the players that the goalkeeper on course to become the number one in the 2010 World Cup of Germany, Robert Enke, had been struck by a train at a level. Where he wrote of his goal to take his own life, A notice to his wife was found.
For Mertesacker, the grief for his buddy at what had happened along with the shock made him consider when he could carry on as a professional. Suffering that was Enke had never been seen by him. Id never noticed him being the person whos got issues.
But the family of Enke understood about the depression that had influenced him during his career.
Ten years from Enkes departure came together to recall him in which his widow Teresa joined in a standing ovation forRobbie.
It was a fantastic tribute and quite emotional, but for me personally it was also quite hard, she says. I didnt understand what I should say.
I felt good but it was also quite deep and also a bit a painful. Overall the event was fantastic and worthwhile.
Robert Enke played for some of the biggest clubs of Europe. In Portuguese side Benfica and Borussia M??nchengladbach he devised a reputation that persuaded the Barcelona to sign up of Louis van Gaal. At Hannover 96, he eventually settled after a spell using the La Liga giants, where he became one of their most goalkeepers in soccer.
However, the livelihood of Enke had been affected by depression prior to the departure from 2006 of his daughter Lara, whod been born with a heart defect. He was first diagnosed in 2002 with depression, after falling out of favour at Barcelona and with his profession during loan spells in Turkey as well as the next tier.
In May 2009, Robert and Teresa adopted a two-month-old daughter, Leila. They brought her home for their farm house that was own converted in town of Empede, Lower Saxony, where the couple also kept two cats and nine dogs theyd rescued from the roads.
Breaks were taken by them where Robert had enjoyed among the charms of his livelihood, and they possessed a vacation house just.
His profession had been back on course and pundits in Germany were urging him to leave the Bundesliga club that is mid-table further his prospects. Bayern Munich had reportedly shown interest.
But in 2009 and in 2008 the depression returned. Enke received treatment, but was never admitted into an institute to get psychiatric care. He feared that to do so would mean the end of his soccer career.
With opportunities opening up for Enke and with growing interest from clubs around Europe, he also took his own life.
He had three spells of depression in his lifetime and also the previous one sadly murdered him, Teresa says.
Until he used to be a funny, kind, humorous man. He was a wonderful husband, a great father.
The final game of enke was a draw between Hannover and Hamburg on 8 November 2009. It had been two weeks before his death.
He was back, although he had spent some time off from football that was first-team prior to the season again. As Roberts representative remembers, and if it had been an unremarkable performance, it felt just as though advancement.
Since you can imagine this was a very tough situation, but we had the impression that he was getting better more and the times earlier, he states.
It was not the ideal game for him, but wasnt significant, he had been still on the pitch for 90 minutes, he came back into the VIP area after the match, we were glad at the point.
We took him home, for all of us were under the belief that he was getting better, which this was the turnaround. But one week later we understood this was not the reality.
When folks decide theyre going to expire in the upcoming days, theyre more open, they can look you in the eyes unexpectedly. We thought,OK, he is getting healthy back, this really is actually the turnaround.
But actually he knew that, in the forthcoming days, that will be the close of the pain.
For Teresa, also, that matchs images are tough to return on.
There is 1 second in his final game that I find very hard, she states.
It looks like hes saying goodbye and looking up to heaven. For me this film is quite painful
About the Monday that followed the game Robert left home. He told his wife he had to attend a Hannover training session.
Teresa called the goalkeeper coach of the side, when he still hadnt return home later that evening. He informed her that the players had not trained that afternoon, and her husband was not there.
Neblung tried to remain calm on the telephone, and heard the news from Teresa.
I said OK, let us take a peek at his bedroom, take a look attempt to locate something, any notices, is there something written, he says.
She found his correspondence, so then I immediately called the emergency line. As soon as I told them the title of the individual,Robert Enke, there were two seconds of silence where they realised we were talking about the national team goalkeeper of all Germany.
In 6:15 pm the day, in a train starting not much from the home of Enke, the Hannover goalkeeper was struck by the regional express service traveling between Bremen and Hamburg. His car was discovered close to the scene, unlocked.
Both train drivers reported using the brakes and seeing a guy on the paths. They could not stop in time and traveled at 100 mph.
The next day, as enthusiasts gathered out Hannovers stadium to lay flowers and light candles, Neblung called a news conference, where he informed the football world that Enke had chosen to die through suicide.
Neblung states:It is still unbelievable for me that at a time when he could pick where he wanted to go – remain at Hannover, visit a top clubplaying Germany as number one at an worldwide tournament – that now then the depression would come back and hit us with incredible power. It is hard to deal with.
A lot of Roberts team-mates in Hannover were scattered round the world on duty while Germanys squad processed what had occurred together and would hear the news.
Karim Haggui had united the previous summer, Hannover. Robert was the picture of this club, and a key line of communication in his position as a central refuge. He had been planning for the World Cup qualifier of his Tunisia side when he first took a call from his hotel room from Germany.
It was a dreadful moment, and much more difficult because I wasnt there, Haggui, 35, states 10 years on.
I chose the telephone on my first day out together with the national group, and had a week apart from Hannover. As Roberts name along with his picture kept coming back to me personally it was difficult. It was very tough.
Haggui played a full 90 minutes in the match of his Tunisia side where an unexpected defeat to Mozambique cost them a place at the 2010 World Cup.
However, it had been Hannovers yield a week an off match at the Bundesliga against Schalke, that stands out in his memory.
We played the game, however there was no real motivation for us, he says.
When you have something like this in your own life, along with your own captain, soccer was the last thing I wished to do. It wasnt important.
We moved on the pitch, we got during the 90 minutes, and then we went home. We dropped that match 2-0, but this game I will never forget. The Schalke team, each of the lovers, the whole stadium, I received a special feeling, the feeling that each of the people were telling you theyre with Hannover for this game, this moment.
Hannover paid tribute for their goalkeeper at the house game that followed Bayern Munich, but a journalist whod followed the career of Robert, also for Ronald Reng, it felt like football didnt matter.
I was not interested in football after Roberts death, he says.
What I do recall is that, months afterwards, there was a notice in his handwriting on Roberts kitchen walls reminding himself to order four tickets to the Bayern game for his buddies.
Reng would later document the narrative in his 2010 novel of Enke A Life. It would show to a audience in Germany and around the world how an goalkeeper suffered with depression.
It seems like a task Robert has given mepersonally. We will need to create requirements to fight with . That is his heritage, he says.
One thing, at least one great thing, needs to come out of his passing. Sometimes its hard to talk about it over and over, but then I picture Robert in my head and he gives me the capability to go on.
For Neblung, also, choosing Roberts heritage means trying to modify the perception of gamers as sporting super-humans, and trying to alter the manner footballers approach wellbeing. About undergoing depression he points again.
It is still soccer and we cannot change the whole script of this game, he says. We cannot change the undesirable headlines once we lose a crucial match but we can learn to assist the players to handle this pressure.
Its astonishing that he [Danny Rose] was strong to open himself to return again, and everyone should learn, this is the way it ought to go.
Get assistance, acquire considerable assistance, be powerful and open. On your own, to the officers at your own club, to your loved ones. They can aid you.
If you met Robbie, you knew what sort of a special man he was. That is what everybody is remembering
Teresa has less affinity with football today than she did a long time before, but in establishing the Robert Enke Foundation she has seen a growth in understanding – in football and also in society at large – which has made it a lot easier for gamers to start up about depression. She believes it may have saved him, if that was an alternative for the husband.
I believe he would have had an opportunity to survive if hed taken that step. However, it was a different time, it had been 10 decades ago, and I can understand that he didnt possess the confidence to accomplish that, she says.
It should be allowed by the players and coaches in the dressing area to reveal your emotions, and to sayI am not feeling good without immediately needing to be worried about your place in the team.
It is an awesome sport. It is also much, too much emotion and difficult to change, and will never change, since theres simply too much money put onto the sport. Its like this as folks want sport such as this.
She prefers to remember Enke on her husbands birthday in August rather than. Nevertheless, the anniversary of his passing was also a period to get Leila and her to return.
Our loved ones and friends are coming together and we will consider Robbie. We will tell stories about him.
But we will most likely look to the future and envision Robbies smile.
In case you or somebody you know has been affected by a mental health issue, assistance and support is available in bbc.co.uk/actionline
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