On 10 November 2009, the Germany squad had been of their lodge eating place getting ready for a house pleasant fit towards Chile. Assistant trainer Oliver Bierhoff stood as much as inform them some information.
“No-one talked for 25 mins,” recollects the previous Arsenal defender In line with Mertesacker.
“No-one may consider it, no-one may say a phrase, no-one may do the rest.”
Bierhoff had simply advised the avid gamers that Robert Enke, the goalkeeper on track to be Germany’s primary on the 2010 International Cup, were hit via a teach at a degree crossing close to his house. A notice to his spouse used to be discovered through which he wrote of his goal to take his personal lifestyles.
For Mertesacker, the grief for his good friend and the surprise at what had came about made him believe if he may even elevate on as a certified. He had by no means noticed Enke struggling. “I might by no means noticed him being the person who’s were given problems.”
However Enke’s circle of relatives knew concerning the despair that had affected him all through his profession.
Ten years on from Enke’s demise, those that had been closest to the goalkeeper got here in combination to keep in mind him at a theatre corridor in Hannover, the place his widow Teresa joined in a status ovation for ‘Robbie’.
“It used to be an ideal tribute and really emotional, however for me it used to be additionally very tricky,” she says. “I didn’t know what I will have to say.
“I felt excellent nevertheless it used to be additionally very deep and in addition somewhat a painful. Total the development used to be glorious and profitable.”
Robert Enke performed for a few of Europe’s largest golf equipment. At Borussia Mönchengladbach and Portuguese aspect Benfica he cast a name that persuaded Louis van Gaal’s Barcelona to signal him in 2002. After a troublesome spell with the Los angeles Liga giants, he sooner or later settled at Hannover 96, the place he changed into one of the crucial commanding goalkeepers in German soccer.
However Enke’s profession were suffering from despair even earlier than the demise in 2006 of his two-year-old daughter Lara, who were born with a serious middle defect. He used to be first identified with despair in 2002, after falling out of favour at Barcelona and along with his profession stalling all through mortgage spells in Turkey and the Spanish 2nd tier.
In Would possibly 2009, Robert and Teresa followed a two-month-old daughter, Leila. They introduced her house to their transformed farm space within the village of Empede, Decrease Saxony, the place the couple additionally stored 9 canines and two cats they’d rescued from the streets.
They took breaks in Portugal, the place Robert had loved one of the crucial happiest spells of his profession, they usually owned a vacation house simply outdoor Lisbon.
His profession used to be firmly again on target with Hannover, and plenty of pundits in Germany had been urging him to go away the mid-table Bundesliga membership to additional his world possibilities. Bayern Munich had reportedly proven hobby.
However in 2008 and once more in 2009 the despair returned. Enke used to be receiving remedy, however used to be by no means admitted to an institute for psychiatric care. He feared that to take action would imply the top of his soccer profession.
In November 2009, with alternatives opening up for Enke at the world level, and with rising hobby as soon as once more from golf equipment throughout Europe, he took his personal lifestyles on the age of 32.
“He had 3 bouts of despair in his lifestyles and the ultimate one sadly killed him,” Teresa says.
“Ahead of that he used to be a funny, sort, humorous guy. He used to be a gorgeous husband, an ideal father.”
Enke’s ultimate fit used to be a 2-2 draw between Hannover and Hamburg on eight November 2009. It used to be simply two days earlier than his demise.
He had spent a while clear of first-team soccer previous within the season, however now he used to be again. And even though it used to be an unremarkable efficiency, it felt like development, as Robert’s agent, Jörg Neblung, recalls.
“As you’ll be able to consider it used to be a truly tricky state of affairs, however we had the influence that he used to be getting higher increasingly the times earlier than,” he says.
“It used to be no longer the most efficient recreation for him, however that wasn’t necessary, he used to be at the pitch for 90 mins, he got here again within the VIP space after the sport, we had been satisfied at that time.
“We took him house, for all folks we had been underneath the influence that he used to be getting higher, that this used to be the turnaround. However one week later we knew this used to be no longer the reality.
“When other folks come to a decision they will die within the subsequent days, they’re extra open, they may be able to glance you within the eyes all at once. We concept, ‘OK, he is getting wholesome once more, that is the turnaround’.
“However truly he knew that, within the coming days, that would be the finish of the ache.”
For Teresa, too, the photographs of that ultimate fit are onerous to appear again on.
“There is one second in his ultimate recreation which I in finding very tricky,” she says.
“It seems like he is pronouncing good-bye and having a look as much as heaven. For me this image may be very painful.”
At the Monday that adopted the fit Robert left house within the morning. He advised his spouse he needed to attend a Hannover coaching consultation.
When he nonetheless hadn’t come again house later that night time, Teresa known as the aspect’s goalkeeper trainer. He advised her the avid gamers had no longer educated that day, and her husband used to be no longer there.
Neblung heard the inside track from Teresa, and attempted to stick calm at the telephone.
“I mentioned OK, let’s check out his bed room, have a look attempt to in finding one thing, any notices, is there one thing written,” he says.
“She discovered his letter, so then I instantly known as the emergency line. Once I advised them the title of the individual, ‘Robert Enke’, there have been two seconds of silence the place they realised we had been speaking concerning the nationwide crew goalkeeper of Germany.”
At 6:15pm that day, at a teach crossing in Eilvese, no longer some distance from Enke’s house, the Hannover goalkeeper used to be hit via the regional specific provider travelling between Hamburg and Bremen. His automobile used to be discovered close to the scene, unlocked, along with his pockets at the seat.
The 2 teach drivers reported seeing a person at the tracks and making use of the brakes. They had been travelling at 100 mph and may no longer forestall in time.
The following day, as enthusiasts amassed outdoor Hannover’s stadium to put plant life and lightweight candles, Neblung known as a information convention, the place he advised the soccer global that Enke had selected to die via suicide.
Neblung says: “It is nonetheless improbable for me that at a second when he may select the place he sought after to move – keep in Hannover, move to a most sensible membership, taking part in for Germany as primary at a world match – that at the moment even then the despair would come again and hit us with improbable energy. It is tricky to care for.”
Whilst Germany’s squad processed what had came about in combination, a lot of Robert’s team-mates at Hannover had been scattered all over the world on world responsibility and would listen the inside track by myself.
Karim Haggui had joined Hannover the former summer season. To him, Robert used to be the picture of the membership, and a key line of conversation in his position as a central defender. He used to be getting ready for his Tunisia aspect’s International Cup qualifier when he took a choice in his lodge room from Germany.
“It used to be a terrible second, and much more tricky as a result of I wasn’t there,” Haggui, 35, says 10 years on.
“I took the decision on my first day away with the nationwide crew, and now had one week clear of Hannover. It used to be onerous as a result of Robert’s title and his symbol stored coming again to me. It used to be very tricky.”
Haggui performed a complete 90 mins in his Tunisia aspect’s fit simply 3 days later, the place an sudden 1-Zero defeat away to Mozambique value them a spot on the 2010 International Cup.
Nevertheless it used to be Hannover’s go back to home soccer per week later, an away fit within the Bundesliga towards Schalke, that stands proud in his reminiscence.
“We performed the sport, however there used to be no actual motivation for us,” he says.
“If you have one thing like this on your lifestyles, along with your captain, soccer used to be the very last thing I sought after to do. It wasn’t necessary.
“We went at the pitch, we were given in the course of the 90 mins, after which we went house. We misplaced that fit 2-0, however this recreation I can by no means fail to remember. The Schalke crew, the entire enthusiasts, the entire stadium, I were given a different feeling, the sensation that the entire other folks had been telling you they’re with Hannover for this recreation, this time.”
Hannover paid tribute to their goalkeeper in the house fit that adopted towards Bayern Munich, however for Ronald Reng, a journalist who had adopted Robert’s profession, it additionally felt like soccer did not topic anymore.
“I wasn’t all for soccer after Robert’s demise,” he says.
“What I do be mindful is that, weeks afterwards, there used to be nonetheless a notice in his handwriting on Robert’s kitchen wall reminding himself to reserve 4 tickets for the Bayern recreation for his buddies.”
Reng would later file Enke’s tale in his 2010 guide A Lifestyles Too Quick. It will make known to an target market in Germany and all over the world how a world goalkeeper suffered with despair all through his whole taking part in profession.
“It appears like a role Robert has given me. We wish to create higher necessities to struggle the illness which killed him. That is his legacy,” he says.
“One thing, a minimum of one excellent factor, has to return out of his demise. Every now and then it’s onerous to speak about it time and again, however then I image Robert in my thoughts and he provides me the ability to move on.”
For Neblung, too, taking up Robert’s legacy way looking to trade the way in which footballers manner psychological well being, and looking to trade the belief of avid gamers as carrying super-humans. He issues to England defender Danny Rose’s public admission about experiencing despair for instance of the way pros can have the option again.
“It is nonetheless soccer and we can’t trade the entire script of the sport,” he says. “We can’t trade the unhealthy headlines when we lose a truly necessary recreation however we will be able to discover ways to assist the avid gamers to deal with this drive.
“It is wonderful that he [Danny Rose] used to be so robust to open himself and to return again once more, and everybody will have to be informed, that is how it will have to move.
“Get assist, get critical assist, be robust and open. To your self, for your circle of relatives, to the officers at your membership. They may be able to permit you to.
“In case you met Robbie, you understood what sort of a different particular person he used to be. That is what everyone seems to be remembering nonetheless.”
Teresa has much less affinity with soccer now than she did a decade in the past, however in putting in the Robert Enke Basis she has noticed a enlargement in working out – in soccer and in society at massive – that has made it more straightforward for avid gamers to open up about despair. If that used to be an possibility for her husband, she thinks it would have stored him.
“I feel he would have had an opportunity to live on if he had taken that step. Nevertheless it used to be a distinct time, it used to be 10 years in the past, and I will remember that he did not have the boldness to try this,” she says.
“It will have to be allowed via the coaches and avid gamers within the dressing room to turn your feelings, and to mention ‘I am not feeling excellent’ with out instantly having to fret about your home within the crew.
“It is a fantastic game. It is onerous to switch, and can by no means trade, as a result of there is merely an excessive amount of cash, an excessive amount of emotion and an excessive amount of put onto the sport. It is like this as a result of other folks need game like this.”
She prefers to keep in mind Enke on her husband’s birthday in August relatively than the day he died. However the 10-year anniversary of his demise used to be additionally a time for her and Leila to appear again.
“Our friends and family are coming in combination and we can bring to mind Robbie. We can inform great tales about him.
“However we can all glance to the long run and consider Robbie’s smile.”
In case you or anyone has been suffering from a psychological well being factor, assist and fortify is to be had at bbc.co.united kingdom/actionline