How Michael Carrick fell into a two-year depression after Man Utd’s 2009 Champions League final defeat – The Sun
AS interim boss, Michael Carrick guided Manchester United to two wins and a draw before leaving the club and steadying the ship.
The former Red Devils star, 40, announced he was making way for incoming Ralf Rangnick and his team after beating Arsenal 3-2 at Old Trafford last night.
Showing his humility, Carrick revealed he was standing down from his post to spend time with his family – ending a 15-year association with the club.
It completes a remarkable turnaround in the life of the former West Ham favourite, who revealed how a mistake in the 2009 Champions League final left him battling depression for two years.
Carrick admits he punished himself so badly for gifting Barcelona a goal in the 2-0 defeat it left him hardly wanting to play for the next 12 months.
The former United midfielder opened up about his torment in his autobiography Michael Carrick: Between The Lines.
And the admission that one of the most gifted English players of his generation was hit so hard by an on-pitch experience sheds light on the kind of pressures top players are under.
Carrick wrote: "I was loose with a header and Iniesta was on it in a flash, passing to Messi. Barcelona are ruthless in transition.
"I was close to Messi but couldn’t prevent him passing back to Iniesta who got ahead of me and Anderson. Iniesta slipped the ball to Eto’o, who got away from Vidic.
"I slid in but only got close enough to Eto’o to see him score.
"In quiet moments in the weeks after our 2-0 defeat, that passage of play kept returning to haunt me. I couldn’t get it out of my head. It sounds melodramatic, but I’ve never recovered from it.
"The memory of conceding such a soft goal is always there in my mind. Giving the ball away to any team was dangerous, but to Barcelona it was suicidal.
"That was the worst I’ve felt on a football pitch after a game by a mile. I was mentally devastated, angry and frustrated by my performance and by United’s.
"I’ve never talked about Rome with the Boss. I can’t, it’s too painful. Even now, almost a decade on, the gloom from Rome has not completely gone."
Carrick says the pain of his role in the loss could not be shifted and led to him suffering a crisis of confidence for much of the following season.
And he admitted it had got so bad that while away with England at the 2010 World Cup he contemplated coming home because he was so unhappy.
Carrick, who played 316 league games for United, added: "I returned pre-season and just couldn’t shake the depression off and 2009-10 was my worst season for United. I’d lost that edge.
"I had a heavy head and a heavy heart, even my body felt heavier.
"Nothing came easy. It felt like I was stuck in a rut, stop-start-stop. I tried but I just couldn’t shake myself into life.
"Confidence is a major part of a sportsman’s performance, when it’s there you take it for granted and if it disappears, it’s desperate.
"In games, I went from having a calm, clear, sharp mind to a cloudy, slow, uncertain one.
"I went from seeing the best option without even thinking to seeing six things at once and choosing the worst one at the wrong time.
"I knew it was all in my head, but I felt that I couldn’t turn to anyone for help, I’m too stubborn.
“In 2010, that was the worst time. It was my dream to be at a World Cup but the truth is that I didn’t want to be there."
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