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Gary Neville reveals the only time in his career he 'didn't want the ball' after he was 'mentally beaten'

Gary Neville reveals the only time in his career he 'didn't want the ball' after he was 'mentally beaten'

Neville has revealed all.

Gary Neville has revealed the one time in his career that he didn't want to receive the ball - claiming he felt 'mentally beaten'.

Neville spent his entire 19-year career at Manchester United, retiring from professional football in 2011 at the age of 36.

He was one of the greatest full-backs of his generation in the Premier League, winning eight league titles, three FA Cups and two Champions League crowns.

Neville was also named in the Premier League Team of the Year on five occasions, as well as the PFA Team of the Century.

But the right-back, who also collected 85 caps for England, has revealed that there was one time where he didn't feel quite as comfortable on the football pitch.

It was in the 1999/00 Champions League, when United lost 3-2 to Real Madrid at the Bernabeu to knock them out at the quarter-final stages.

Taking to LinkedIn, Neville detailed that he knew 'early on in the game I was beaten' - and explained the poignant reason as to why.

He said: "I will never forget that ball going over my head. I can still feel myself reaching for it to this day and knowing early in the game I was beaten! Beaten mentally more than anything.

"It's the only period in my career where I didn't want the ball, and this match was right at the heart of that situation.

"In the previous couple of months I'd given away two very bad goals in the inaugural World Club Championship, and also had broken up with my girlfriend after seven years together.

"I remember during games being distracted and the break up fogging my mind. It had never happened before where a non-work situation had contaminated my professional thinking.

"Back in those days, it wasn't a case of opening up or discussing these things with colleagues or your boss."

Neville did add, though, that he went on to tell United's club doctor about his struggles, and saw a sports psychologist for three to four months in order to gain 'coping mechanisms that I still use to this day'.

Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: Gary Neville, Premier League, Manchester United