Arsenal star Hector Bellerin turned to booze to cope with injury hell

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Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin has admitted he turned to drinking and partying during a nightmare eight-month spell out injured in 2019.

The Spaniard picked up a horror injury during a win over Chelsea in January of that year, rupturing his cruciate ligament only a week after returning from a month-long calf problem.

He did not play for the Gunners again until the following September, spending 240 days on the sidelines and missing 31 matches in the process.

That eight-month spell out was a difficult time for Bellerin, who admits he became easily distracted during his time away from the game.

The 26-year-old told Tea With Timbsy: "It was the first time that I had got injured like that, and I had friends and teammates that had gone through it before, I had my family next to me, but I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen to me.

"I didn’t know if those doubts in my head were normal. I feel like I would have loved to have watched that before I got injured. I feel like now it’s an opportunity for people to do that, and if that helps them in any way and shows them that when you do it, it feels like the end of the world, but 9 months down the line, you’re fine.

"I was trying to be as honest as I could and everything that really went through my mind.

"I talk about an experience when I came back and I wasn’t really training, and I started going out a lot, I started drinking and all this stuff and you know for a footballer that’s not what you’re supposed to say but it’s the truth.

"We have our issues, we have our mental health problems. And when football, which is basically your identity gets taken out of you, we find it difficult.

"Obviously London is a town that offers a lot of distractions and it’s really easy when you don’t feel you have a responsibility – obviously I knew I had to recover, but I didn’t have to train or play – my mind kind of just went elsewhere.

"I was lucky enough to have players and coaches who knew what I was doing, and they said ‘look Hector, that’s not the right way to do it’, and I felt so lucky about that.

"But also I’m not ashamed of it, I feel like it’s what happened to me and it’s just the way I was feeling and for me that was the best way of coping with my feelings, which is obviously not the best anyway, you don’t help anything, you just delay it.

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"But that’s how I felt like doing then, and I thought I could get away with it and I learned so much from it. Now the last thing I do when I have an injury is drink because I know how bad that is.

"Sometimes you just don’t care or it’s difficult."

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