Former Liverpool and Newcastle star Jose Enrique has advised players to think and plan about their lives after retirement, as very few football stars are mentally prepared for the transition.
34 year old Jose Enrique, spent nine years in England, playing for Newcastle and Liverpool.
Enrique who is now a football agent after battling a brain tumour and various knee injuries that made him retire at an early age, says settling into his new lifestyle was not easy.
He then advised players to plan their post-retirement well, warning that the “bubble” of being well paid and adored by fans will eventually burst.
“When people think of footballers, they think of Liverpool, Barcelona, Juventus players,” Enrique told Tribuna.
“But there are players in League One, League Two, they’re footballers too, even though they don’t live the life a Liverpool player lives.
“I’m talking about players from the big leagues. I lived in a bubble. You do what you love, get paid well, receive so much attention, everyone treats you so good wherever you go. And then, all of a sudden, it stops.
“Now my partner tells me, ‘Jose, go and clean the sh*t off the car’. And I go and clean it. I used to do it anyway but as a footballer, you have your cleaners, it’s a completely different life. When it all stops, the bubble just bursts.
“I talked to Jorge Lopez, a former Valencia player, two days ago. He told me the same thing. You’re still young when you retire. So you say, ‘Well, what do I do now?’ That’s why I tell all the players, ‘Prepare yourself for the post-football life’. I didn’t.”
Enrique believes that people need a purpose in order to carry on living a meaningful life.
“Someone told me recently, ‘If I was a former footballer, I would just live the holiday life’,” he added.
“Listen, after the first month, you’re already bored of it. Alright, give it a year, no problem. But after that? I’m still 34. When I retired, I was 31-32.
“What do I want? Do I want to be on holiday for the rest of my life? No, I don’t. You want to be something as a human being. You want to work, you want to do something that makes you feel proud of yourself. I feel proud being an agent.
“Humans need to work, you can’t be on holidays all the time. It’s very important to have a plan before you retire.”