Football mourns Germany keeper Enke

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The Independent Online

Germany goalkeeper Robert Enke, who committed suicide yesterday evening, had been battling depression and was first treated for the illness in 2003.

The 32-year-old Hannover stopper was struck by a regional train travelling between Norddeich and Hanover at a railway crossing in Neustadt am Rubenberge and died at the scene.

Enke's widow Teresa and his psychologist Dr Valentin Markser appeared at a press conference at Hannover's AWD-Arena this afternoon to explain the background to his death.

Enke was first treated for depression during his time at Barcelona, for whom he made only one Primera Division appearance.

His widow revealed he feared that their adopted daughter Leila would be taken away if the illness became public knowledge.

The couple adopted the eight-month-old in May. They lost their biological daughter Lara in 2006 when she died of a rare heart condition at the age of just two.

Teresa Enke said: "I tried to be there for him, said that football is not everything. There are many beautiful things in life. It is not hopeless.

"We had Lara, we have Leila.

"I always wanted to help him to get through it. He didn't want it to come out because of fear. He was scared of losing Leila."

Teresa Enke added: "It is the fear of what people will think when you have a child and the father suffers from depression.

"I always said to him that that is not a problem.

"Robert cared for Leila with love - until the end."

She continued: "When he was acutely depressed, then that was a tough time. That is clear because he thought there was no hope of a recovery on the horizon for him.

"After Lara's death everything drew us closer together, we thought that we would achieve everything.

"I tried to tell him that there is always a solution.

"I drove to training with him. I wanted to help him to get through it.

"He didn't want to accept help any more."

Teresa Enke revealed football offered a release for her husband.

"Football was everything," she said. "It was his life. The team gave him security.

"When he started to get better again he said it's so nice to be part of the team again.

"Training was his security. That he could drive to training every time was the most important thing for him."

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