Emmanuel Eboue has revealed his year-long ban from football after he had his Sunderland contract terminated has driven him to the verge of suicide.
The 33-year-old is serving a 12-month suspension, handed down by FIFA, over his refusal to pay an agent after his move from Arsenal to Galatasaray in 2011.
Eboue subsequently had his contract at Sunderland terminated in March, just 22 days after joining the club, and is now training alongside a semi-professional player in London.
The Ivory Coast international admits his exile from football has been the most difficult spell of his career and revealed he sometimes spends days in his bedroom without coming out.
“There are a lot of days when I don’t feel like getting out of bed,” he told the Daily Telegraph.
“One day I wanted to kill myself. My family keep me strong, it’s them that I have to think about but if I was alone, I worry about what I’d have done to myself by now.
“There are times when I stay in my bedroom and don’t come out. One, two days in that room. Alone. I lock the door and am just thinking. I spend a lot of my time reading the Bible and will say, ‘Emmanuel, why are you doing that? It’s no good for your family’.”
Eboue, who spent seven years with Arsenal, also suffered after the deaths of his grandfather, Amadou Bertin, and his brother, N’Dri Serge, in October.
He added: “The people who know me, when they see my face, they can tell I’m not happy. This is the lowest I’ve been in my career, it’s a bad time.”
Eboue joined Sunderland in March as a free agent, and played a reserve team game against Leicester City before his contract was ripped up.