Emmanuel Adebayor has revealed he contemplated suicide while he struggled to deal with the pressure of making it as a professional footballer.
Adebayor, 35, says he was under so much strain when he was trying to make the grade as a player in France he started to plan to end his own life.
The former Arsenal and Manchester City star admits the expectation of people back home in Togo was getting too much for him to deal with as a 16-year-old playing for Metz.
Speaking to the Mail, Adebayor said: “I was 16. All I wanted to do was help my family out but they put huge pressure on me. I could not cope with it.
“When a family is poor, everyone is poor and there is huge solidarity. People will take a bullet for you. But when one makes it, it is like you owe everyone.
“At Metz I was on maybe £3,000 a month. My family asked for a house worth £500,000. The club were tired of me because of my behaviour.
“I remember sitting on my bed one night and thinking ‘What am I doing here? Nobody’s happy with me, so what is the point of living?’ “There was a pharmacy below my apartment, I bought packet after packet of tablets.
“They did not want to sell it to me but I said it was for a charity in Togo. I made the preparations, I drank all the water. I was ready to go.“Then I called my best friend at midnight. He told me not to rush, that I have things to live for.
“‘You have the potential to change Africa. I thought ‘You are a dream-seller and I am not buying any dreams right now.’
“But he took me out of the moment. I thought God must be keeping for something.”
Adebayor went on to enjoy a successful career at club and international level, also enjoying spells with Monaco, Tottenham, Real Madrid and Crystal Palace.