Former Arsenal striker opens up about battles with depression after retirement

Jeremie Aliadiere

The Frenchman played his final match in May 2017, playing an hour of his side’s Ligue 1 clash against Bordeaux. Little did he know, however, that it would be his final game.

Aliadiere returned to London with his young family in the hope of landing a Football League club to continue his career – but the calls he wanted never came.

“I ended up back in London, waiting, waiting, phone ringing but not really places I wanted to go, training because you always think 'I'm still going to get something',” he told

“Slowly, slowly, maybe after six months you realise this might be finished, it might not happen anymore.

“Then the transfer window reopens, a few agents call you and ask if you'd be interested in this or that. You get your hopes up again. Nothing comes of it.

“You start thinking 'I've got to do something else, I've got all this time on my hands'. Then the second week without a thing to do – the freedom is nice but the day is long.

“You start feeling depressed. 'What am I doing?' I used to get up every morning to train, enjoy it every day, enjoy the environment, the dressing room, the jokes. Suddenly, there's nothing.

“My kids and my wife, their lives still go on. Your whole life ends, basically.

“If I didn't have my kids and wife I'd probably be in the worst, worst place.

“You hear of a lot of footballers who lose the plot when they retire, who blow their money on gambling, drink, drugs. You need to find something to give you the same importance, the same adrenaline as when you were playing.”

Before joining Lorient in 2011, Aliadiere had experienced similar problems after leaving Middlesbrough, where he struggled with only 12 goals in 86 appearances.

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His former club West Ham were keen, and the Frenchman had a medical – only for the Hammers to get cold feet after finding something amiss on an MRI scan. While training with the east Londoners to prove his fitness, he suffered a cruciate ligament injury.

With no club and no prospects of getting one for a year, Aliadiere turned to the one man he trusted most; the man who brought him to England and Arsenal aged 16.

“Arsene [Wenger] said: 'Listen, forget about this season, just come to us, train with us, get back fit. This is your home. I'll see you tomorrow at 9am.' That was it.

“You don't get that from many people, not just in football. When you work with someone, you work with them and then eventually you go your separate ways.

“But Arsene… to help someone three, four years after they've left the club, I'll always be grateful for him.”


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Joe Brewin

Joe was the Deputy Editor at FourFourTwo until 2022, having risen through the FFT academy and been on the brand since 2013 in various capacities. 

By weekend and frustrating midweek night he is a Leicester City fan, and in 2020 co-wrote the autobiography of former Foxes winger Matt Piper – subsequently listed for both the Telegraph and William Hill Sports Book of the Year awards.