Gerardo Arteaga, the soccer player who sacrificed the Olympics for mental health

Gerardo Arteaga in a match for the Mexican national team in March of this year. (Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images)

Gerardo Artega faced the biggest dilemma of his career last summer. He had to choose between going to the Olympics or seeing his family. He didn’t hesitate: The Mexican left-back preferred to use his holidays to be with his family and not go to the most important youth tournament in the world. He knew this decision could cost him future calls, but nothing beat his mental health. For the year prior to Asian history, he had gone through Hell.

“I’ve been alone in Belgium for seven months. My girlfriend has only been working as a tourist for three months and she’s back (to Mexico). Here I was alone, imprisoned. As there’s not much to do here in Genk and life is full of life different from what we know in Mexico, where you stuck to your car And you go wherever you want, not here, even food has been a battle for me. I have no friends in Genk, no one speaks Spanish to meThis is what the Santos youth team said on the podcast Very misplaced.

During that point, Artega’s life became quite monotonous, he says. In Mexico, positive comments were read about his adaptation to Belgian football, but between the four walls the reality was very different from what was seen on the pitch. “I got depressed because I haven’t slept in my room in two or three months. I stayed in the living room with the TV on because I felt so lonely. Coming home from training, I threw my bag and sat on the sofa without eating or having dinner, I was depressed and felt so bad.

When Jaime LozanoThe coach of the Olympic team, who released the list of his squad, in July 2021, the absence of Gerardo caught everyone’s attention. His quality and European experience made him an indispensable component of this team, in addition to the fact that he has already added minutes in the first team. They told me: “Are you going to the games or not?” I grabbed my testicles and told them, “No.” Obviously he wanted to go. I was crying, but I knew if I went to the Olympics there wouldn’t be something in my head,” the winger was blunt.

During the calls that followed the exhibition, Gerardo Martino did not take Arteaga into account. His return to the national team took place only until January of this year. Although he switched titles with substitutions, his role on the team has become more defined after his moment last year. Yes, fans have requested that he be the one to play as a starter rather than the other items like Jesus Gallardo.

Today, Arteaga is experiencing a moment of fullness. He finished his second campaign in Belgium with Genk and it seems that a move to a higher league is only a matter of time. From what he reveals on social networks, his girlfriend already lives with him permanently in Belgium and every time he visits Mexico, he shares time with his relative.

After all he’s experienced, Arteaga is going his way to merging with the tricolor jersey. The competition with Jesús Gallardo for the starting position on the left side will be decided until the last minute. The Reados player who took that place in Russia 2018Enjoy blessing Gerardo “Tata” MartinoBut the regularity of confusion in Europe in his main argument for the position.

Mental health is a problem that continues to cause alarm in football, despite the fact that in recent years the consequences of these warning signs have increased. Some suicides shocked the football world. Last year, Uruguay Santiago “Moro” Garcia He committed suicide with a gun after being under the supervision of a specialist due to depression. In 2009, German goalkeeper Robert Enke killed himself on a train track, a victim of the same disease.

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