LONDON (AFP) - Former Liverpool and England goalkeeper Chris Kirkland has revealed depression was behind his decision to retire from the game last year.
The 36-year-old left Bury shortly after joining the English third-tier club, having previously played for teams including Liverpool, Wigan Athletic and Sheffield Wednesday.
Capped once by England, he said he had thought about committing suicide, but thoughts of his wife and daughter kept him going.
"I was worried how close I was to the next step. That's why I said: 'I need to stop playing football,'" he said in an interview published by The Guardian on Thursday.
Kirkland, who was a member of the Liverpool squad that won the Champions League in 2005, encouraged players experiencing similar problems to seek help.
"It's easy for me to talk about it now because I've seen a way out of it," he said. "That is the biggest thing and I want other people and other players to know that you've just got to talk.
"I never saw a way out of it until I started to talk about it. There was a fear. But as soon as you talk, that's when you're helping yourself and your family."