The Italian Almanac

it's a hard life

Italian News - July 9

In the popular imagination they are rich, drive fast cars, date beautiful women and are hero-worshipped every weekend. So it comes as a surprise to learn that Italy’s soccer players are an unhappy lot - if, that is, you believe the results of a survey carried out by Italian research institute Eta Meta and published in "La Gazzetta dello Sport" (Sport Gazette) yesterday.

The survey was based on interviews with 124 professional footballers, the vast majority of whom play in Italy’s top two divisions, uncovered a hidden world of worry. Almost two thirds said they were stressed out by their job, citing the pressure to perform and fear of injury as the biggest causes of anxiety.

Far from facing up to their demons, 22% reacted to stress by withdrawing from the world. A third questioned admitted to taking out their frustrations on their loved ones. One in 10 felt they did not have any real friends.

As for burying their heads in a newspaper, nearly one in five blamed the “continual criticism that arrives from the media” for getting them overwrought in the first place.