A Different Week – German heartbreak

On Tuesday November 10, 2009, footballing nations across Europe were shocked following German goalkeeper, Robert Enke’s tragic suicide.

No doubt some of you have read about Enke’s now publicised suffering of depression for the last six years, and have been saddened by his departure after a glorious career in which Enke stood poised to take up the German number one jersey for World Cup-mania. This was the result of his hard work and industrious graft at Hannover 96 where he settled down after a turbulent and fluctuant career that eventually blossomed into success.

Robert Enke started his career for hometown club Carl Zeiss Jena and made his professional debut for them on the November 11, 1995. It was to be a brief affair for Enke as he played just three more games for them that season, before moving on to the heady heights of Borussia Mochengladbach where he played for the under-23’s side, nailing down a regular spot and growing in stature. After two years of graft in the lower leagues, Enke finally got his chance and made his professional debut for Mochengladbach on August 15, 1998. Here, Enke seized his opportunity and delivered some truly inspirational performances before moving on to Benifica on the flush of his success.

Clubs along the ilk of Barcelona and Fenerbahce followed, however, Enke could never manage to stabilise his fledgling career so returned to the Bundesliga with Hannover 96 in July 2004. Here Enke was to flourish as international honours, two Goalkeeper of the Year awards and captaincy followed as Robert Enke finally found the consistency and belief that was sometimes lacking at previous clubs.

In this premature 2009/10 season, off the back of a Goalkeeper of the Year award for 2008/09 and a strong case for German international honours in the World Cup, Enke fell victim to his depression. His last game for the club came on the November 8, against Hamburg in a 2-2 draw, just two days before his demise. Overall, Enke made 180 appearances for Hannover 96 from July 2004 to November 2009 and will be remembered fondly by the established club, as demonstrated by the multitudes of flowers that were placed in the AWD-Arena. Fans mourned their heroic captain and flocked to the stadium to say a prayer, light a candle, distribute flowers, or simply to stand and remember their stalwart who finally succumbed during what was hoped to be his most successful season yet.

The German Football Federation has cancelled its friendly against Chile on Saturday, after it was announced that Robert Enke’s funeral would take place on Sunday in a small ceremony in Empede, near his home in the wake of a large service at the AWD-Arena. Enke’s wife Teresa announced the funeral plans during a religious service on Wednesday where she also broke the news about Enke’s depression to the public for the first time. Thousands are expected to head to Hannover’s stadium on Sunday to pay their respects.

It is important not to neglect another of Europe’s better goalkeepers after his “potentially life changing “accident yesterday morning. Carlo Cudicini is still in observation at an east London hospital following a serious motorcycle accident where the lovable Italian injured his pelvis and fractured both wrists. Cudicini is one of the Premier League’s longest serving goalkeepers after ten years of devotion that has seen him become a popular figure to two of London’s finest footballing outfits.

After eight years at Chelsea where, after establishing himself as one of the finest Premier League keepers, was eventually supplanted by Peter Cech. His Italian style and iconic acrobatic saves have made him a likeable character and his diligence in staying at the heady heights of English football rather than a back exit to another league has made him a devoted man. A January move to Tottenham looked promising in terms of resurgence, but unfortunately never delivered as he struggled to break into the first XI, combating with Heurelho Gomes for the number one jersey. However, the White Hart Lane faithful still quite rightly are concerned about their reliable number two and will be updated as soon as there is any new information concerning Carlo’s injuries.

In a week where all eyes should’ve been on the thrills and spills of World Cup qualification, these unfortunate and distressing incidents have put everything into perspective.

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