Arsenal’s Spanish defender Hector Bellerin heads the ball during the English FA Cup semi-final football match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium in London, on July 18, 2020. (Photo by Justin Tallis, AFP]

Hector Bellerin has revealed that he turned to alcohol while he was attempting to deal with his injury issues at Arsenal.

The 26-year-old full-back has been blighted with unfortunate injury problems in recent years, and missed the majority of action in 2019 with a cruciate ligament rupture followed by hamstring issues.

This season he has been in and out of Mikel Arteta’s team, and there are suggestions that he could leave in the summer.

But looking back on his cruciate injury in an interview on the Timsby YouTube channel, Bellerin admitted that he struggled to cope with being sidelined initially.

“It was the first time that I had got injured like that, and I had friends and teammates that had gone through it before, I had my family next to me, but I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen to me,” he said.

“I talk about an experience when I came back and I wasn’t really training, and I started going out a lot, I started drinking and all this stuff and you know for a footballer that’s not what you’re supposed to say but it’s the truth.

“We have our issues, we have our mental health problems. And when football, which is basically your identity gets taken out of you, we find it difficult.

“Obviously London is a town that offers a lot of distractions and it’s really easy when you don’t feel you have a responsibility – obviously I knew I had to recover, but I didn’t have to train or play – my mind kind of just went elsewhere.”

Bellerin also says that he now feels grateful for those who helped him in his journey to recover from the injury.

He added: “I was lucky enough to have players and coaches who knew what I was doing, and they said ‘look Hector, that’s not the right way to do it’, and I felt so lucky about that.

“But also I’m not ashamed of it, I feel like it’s what happened to me and it’s just the way I was feeling and for me that was the best way of coping with my feelings, which is obviously not the best anyway, you don’t help anything, you just delay it.

“But that’s how I felt like doing then, and I thought I could get away with it and I learned so much from it. Now the last thing I do when I have an injury is drink because I know how bad that is. Sometimes you just don’t care or it’s difficult.”


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