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

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From Joe Lynskey
BBC Sport
About 10 the Germany team were in their hotel restaurant preparing for a house friendly match against Chile. Assistant trainer Oliver Bierhoff stood up to tell some news to them.
No-one talked for 25 minutes, recalls the former Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker.
No-one could consider it, nobody could state a word, nobody could perform anything.
Bierhoff had only told the players who the goalkeeper on track to be Germanys number one in the 2010 World Cup, Robert Enke, was struck by a train at a level crossing near his property. In which he wrote of his goal to take his life, A visit to his wife was found.
To get Mertesacker, the grief for his friend at what had happened and also the shock made him believe when he could carry on as a professional. Suffering that was Enke had never been seen by him. I had never noticed him being the person whos got problems.
But Enkes family knew about the melancholy that had influenced him.
Ten years from Enkes death came together to remember him where his widow Teresa united for Robbie in a standing ovation.
It was a terrific tribute and very emotional, but for me it was also quite hard, she says. I did not know what I should say.
I felt good but it was also very deep and also a little painful. Overall the event was wonderful and rewarding.
Robert Enke played for some of Europes biggest clubs. At Portuguese side Benfica and Borussia M??nchengladbach he devised a reputation that persuaded the Barcelona to signal up of Louis van Gaal. Following a spell with the La Liga giants, he finally settled at Hannover 96, where he became one of the most goalkeepers in soccer.
But the livelihood of Enke was affected by depression even prior to the departure from 2006 of the daughter Lara, whod been born with a heart defect. He was diagnosed in 2002, after falling from favour at Barcelona and together with his profession during loan spells in the next grade as well as Turkey.
Back in May 2009, both Robert and Teresa embraced a daughter, Leila. They brought her home in the village of Empede for their farm house that was own converted, Lower Saxony, in which the couple also kept nine dogs and 2 cats they had rescued from the streets.
In which Robert had loved one of the happiest spells of his career, they took breaks from Portugal, and they owned a vacation home just outside Lisbon.
His career had been back on track and pundits at Germany urged him to leave the Bundesliga team further his prospects. Bayern Munich had shown interest.
But in 2009 and in 2008 the melancholy returned. Enke received treatment, but was never admitted into an institute for psychiatric attention. He feared that to do so would indicate the end of his soccer career.
Back in November 2009, at age 32, he took his life with opportunities opening up for Enke on the stage, and with increasing interest from clubs around Europe.
He had three bouts of melancholy in his life and the previous one sadly killed him, Teresa says.
Before that he was a humorous, kind, humorous guy. He was a wonderful husband, a great father.
Enkes final game was a draw between Hamburg and Hannover on 8 November 2009. It had been two days before his departure.
Now he was back, although Hed spent some time off from football that was first-team prior to the summer again. And though it was an unremarkable performance, it felt like progress, as Roberts representative, J??rg Neblung, remembers.
As you can imagine it had been a very tough situation, but we had the belief that he was becoming better more and the times before, he says.
It was not the ideal game because of him, but wasnt important, he was on the pitch for 90 minutes, he came back at the VIP area following the match, we were glad at the point.
We took him home, for many of us were under the impression that he was getting much better, that this was the turnaround. But one week after we understood this wasnt the truth.
When folks decide theyre going to die in the upcoming days, theyre more openthey could look you in the eyes suddenly. We thought,OK, he is becoming healthy , this really is actually the turnaround.
But actually he understood that, at the coming days, that is going to be the conclusion of the pain.
For Teresa, also, the matchs images are tough to return on.
There is one second in his last game that I find very difficult, she says.
It looks like hes saying goodbye and looking up to heaven. For me this picture is very painful
On Robert left home. He told his wife he had to attend a Hannover coaching session.
Teresa called the goalkeeper coach of the side when he still hadnt come that day. He informed her that afternoon, that the players had not trained, and her husband wasnt there.
Neblung heard the news also tried to stay calm on the phone.
I said OK, lets take a look at his bedroom, take a look try to find something, any finds, is there some thing written, he says.
She found his correspondence, so afterward I promptly called the emergency line. As soon as I told them the name of the person,Robert Enke, there were two seconds of silence in which they realised we were speaking about the national team goalkeeper of Germany.
At 6:15 pm the day, in a railway crossing in Eilvese, not far from the house of Enke, the Hannover goalkeeper was hit by the state service travelling between Bremen and Hamburg. His car was discovered near the scene, unlocked, with his pocket on the chair.
Both train drivers reported using the brakes and seeing a guy on the tracks. They could not stop in time and were travelling at 100 mph.
The following day, as fans gathered out the stadium to put flowers and light candles of Hannover, Neblung called a news conference, where he informed the soccer world which Enke had chosen to die through suicide.
Neblung states:Its still incredible for me at a moment when he could pick where he wanted to go – stay at Hannover, go to a top club, playing for Germany as number one in an international championship – which now even then the depression would come back and hit us with unbelievable power. Its hard to deal with.
Even though the team of Germany processed what had occurred collectively, a lot of Roberts team-mates in Hannover were scattered around the world on duty and would hear the news alone.
Karim Haggui had united the summer Hannover. To him, Robert was the picture of the club, and also a important line of communicating in his position as a central refuge. He had been planning for the World Cup qualifier of his Tunisia side if he took a call in Germany from his hotel room.
It was a horrible moment, and much more difficult because I was not there, Haggui, 35, states 10 years on.
I chose the telephone in my very first day off with the national group, and currently had a week off from Hannover. As Roberts name and his image kept coming back to me personally it was difficult. It was very hard.
Where an unexpected defeat away to Mozambique price them a place in the 2010 World Cup haggui played full 90 minutes in the match of his Tunisia side three days afterwards.
Nevertheless, it was Hannovers return from Schalke, which stands out from his memory a week later, an away match in the Bundesliga to national football.
We played the game, however there was no real motivation for us, he states.
When youve got something like this in your own life, along with your own captain, football was the final thing I wanted to do. It was not important.
We moved on the pitch, we all got throughout the 90 minutes, then we went home. We dropped that match 2-0, yet this game I wont ever forget. The Schalke group, each of the lovers, the whole stadium, I got a special sense, the impression that every one of the people were telling you that theyre with Hannover with this particular game, this time.
Hannover paid tribute to their goalkeeper at the house match that followed Bayern Munich, but for Ronald Reng, a journalist who had followed Roberts profession, additionally, it felt like football did not matter.
I was not interested in soccer after Roberts death, he states.
Everything I do remember is that, weeks afterwards, there was still a note in his own handwriting on Roberts kitchen walls reminding himself to order four tickets to the Bayern game for his friends.
Reng would document the story in his 2010 novel of Enke A Life Too Short. It would reveal to a audience in Germany and around the world how an global goalkeeper endured throughout his entire playing career with depression.
It feels like a job Robert has given me. We will need to create much better requirements to resist with . Thats his legacy, he says.
Something, at least one good thing, has to come from his passing. At times its difficult to discuss it again and again, but then I imagine Robert in my mind and he gives me the capability to continue.
For Neblung, too, taking on Roberts heritage means seeking as sporting super-humans to alter the perception of gamers, and trying to modify the manner footballers approach mental health. About undergoing depression he points into the public admission of England defender Danny Rose again.
Its still soccer and we cannot alter the whole script of the match, he says. We cannot alter the undesirable headlines once we lose a crucial match but we could learn to assist the players to handle this strain.
It is astonishing he [Danny Rose] was so strong to open himself to return , and everybody should understand , this is the way it ought to go.
Get aid, acquire serious help, be strong and open. On your own, to the officers at your club, to your loved ones. They can help you.
If you met Robbie, then you knew what kind of a particular person he was. Thats what everyone is recalling
Teresa has significantly less affinity with football today than she did a decade ago, but in setting up the Robert Enke Foundation shes seen a growth in understanding – in football and in society at large – which has made it a lot easier for gamers to open up about melancholy. She believes it may have saved him if this was an option for the husband.
I believe hed have had an opportunity to survive if he had taken that measure. Nevertheless, it was a different time, it was 10 years ago, and I could understand that he did not possess the confidence to do this, she says.
It ought to be permitted by the players and coaches in the dressing area to display your emotions, and of courseI am not feeling great without immediately having to be concerned about your place in the group.
Its an wonderful game. Its tough to change, and wont ever change, since theres simply too much money, too much emotion and too much place onto the match. It is like this as folks want sport such as this.
She prefers to remember Enke on her husbands birthday in August rather than the day that he died. But the 10-year anniversary of his death was a time because of Leila and her to return.
Our loved ones members and friends are coming together and we will think of Robbie. Well tell nice stories .
But we shall constantly look to the future and imagine Robbies grin
In the event that you or someone you know has been affected with a mental health issue, assistance and support can be found in
Further reporting by Maz Farookhi
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