Swedish and Inter Milan striker Martin Bengtsson talks about his battle with depression while maintaining that he wanted to be a footballer for as long as he could remember. Depression caused him to quit his dream after he attempted to take his own life. This extraordinary story was recently the subject of an acclaimed movie, Tigers, and was showcased at a number of festivals.

“I had this dream when I was five to play at the San Siro. I was very decisive that this was my goal. I had a schedule. I practiced for hours every day to achieve it. When I got there I became so close to this goal,” Inter Milan wonder kid Martin Bengtsson said. “But when I reached it, something happened to this illusion that I had as a child that brought me such joy. When I saw what it was, the magic just disappeared. The joy of football was trying to get to Italy. The tragic part is that I got very close and it was not for me.”

“What is nice for me is to hear from other players who have been reaching out and feel this movie has touched on experiences and feelings that maybe we’re not exactly like mine but had similarities. They feel locked into this ‘dream’ in many ways,” he added. “Just imagine. They’ve kept it locked up for 20 years, deciding what it should do and eat, selling tickets for people staring at it all day. He has recreated the environment, the relationships between players, the feeling of being lost, of being trapped, and not knowing the way out. That was the hardest time – not having the freedom to go out to a restaurant and having this feeling that you were just someone else’s property. That was hard.”

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