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Former Real Madrid defender opens up about suffering depression at the club

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Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images

Danilo was one of Real Madrid’s biggest bets in the transfer market when he joined Los Blancos for a whopping €31 million.

Danilo was signed on the back of his exceptional performances at FC Porto. But at Real Madrid, he was barely able to fulfil his potential and had to leave the club after two years.

Now captaining Juventus, Danilo, in a recent column for The Players Tribune, has opened up about suffering from depression during his time at Santiago Bernabeu.

Danilo’s mental struggles at Real Madrid

“During that first season, I suffered from depression. I was lost, I felt useless, on the field I couldn’t make a pass of more than 5 meters, it was as if I couldn’t move,” Danilo wrote about his struggles at Real Madrid.

The hefty €31 million transfer fee weighed heavily, and the expectations of a club like Real Madrid threatened to extinguish his passion for the game.

“Which part of me was really feeling the pressure?” Danilo questioned. “The boy who had been a revelation as a right-back for Porto? Or the boy from Bicas who had suddenly signed for the biggest team in the world?

Danilo endured a difficult time at Real Madrid (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)

The answer was clear. Inside you are still, and always will be, the boy from Bicas,” he wrote.

Despite his struggles, Danilo kept his depression a secret, even from his teammate and compatriot Casemiro, who tried to help.

“I didn’t tell anyone what I was feeling,” Danilo admitted. “Casemiro tried to help me, but I ‘swallowed the frog,’ as they say. And it got bigger and bigger.”

After enduring this internal battle for months, Danilo sought professional help. “Seeing a psychologist really saved my career,” he revealed.

Danilo considered retirement

Danilo recounted a specific mistake against Deportivo La Coruna that sent him spiralling. “Theo Hernandez stole the ball from me and crossed for Deyverson to score,” he recalled. “We won 4-1, but it was a mistake that cannot be made at Real Madrid.”

That night, at the tender age of 24, he thought of quitting football entirely. “I will never forget coming home that night and not being able to sleep,” Danilo confessed. “I wrote in my notebook: ‘I think it’s time to quit football.”

Danilo, fortunately, has come a long way since and is now one of the most important players at Juventus.

The Brazilian played a key role in helping Juve secure a top-three finish in Serie A this past season. However, with his contract expiring in 2025, it will be interesting to see what the future holds for the former Real Madrid defender.

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Real Madrid News

Just in: Real Madrid’s defensive target picks up fresh injury

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Photo by Marco Rosi - SS Lazio/Getty Images

Real Madrid are in active negotiations with LOSC Lille for the transfer of Leny Yoro. After weeks of impasse, the club appear to have made some ground in the race to sign the Frenchman.

However, should the Yoro deal fall through in the coming weeks, Real Madrid have identified Lazio’s Mario Gila as the ideal alternative.

Formerly of RM Castilla, Gila currently plies his trade for Lazio and has emerged as a key defensive lynchpin for the Italian outfit, impressing onlookers with his technique and discipline.

Mario Gila picks up fresh injury

However, in a major development, it appears Mario Gila has picked up a fresh injury during training, reports Diario AS.

In the pre-season camp at Auronzo di Cadore, Gila appears to have fractured his left foot and could be out for several weeks.

Fresh setback for Mario Gila (Photo by Marco Rosi – SS Lazio/Getty Images)

Lazio confirmed the defender’s injury, stating, “Mario Gila underwent clinical and instrumental examinations which revealed a fracture of the phalanx of the big toe of his left foot, suffered during training.”

Gila has started taking the appropriate treatment and the extent of his injury will be known soon. However, as things stand, the defender could be out for at least the next few weeks.

What does this mean for Real Madrid?

Mario Gila’s fresh injury setback is sure to dwindle any hopes of a potential return to Real Madrid this summer.

In any case, Gila’s chances of returning to Santiago Bernabeu were slim given that Real Madrid have finally made some ground in the deal to sign top defensive target Leny Yoro.

Los Blancos, though, would have liked having someone like Gila available as an alternative, especially with LOSC Lille still demanding a fortune for the Frenchman.

Unfortunately, that might not be an option anymore, no thanks to Gila’s injury. The club, though, will keep a close eye on the Spaniard’s injury situation, knowing he could return to fitness before the end of the summer break.

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