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Cédric Anselin: I was ready to take my own life but phoning Clarke Carlisle saved me

Cédric Anselin played alongside Zinedine Zidane in a European final aged 18 but his career faltered and his life spun out of control – until he called an old friend

By Jonathan Drennan for Behind the Lines, part of the Guardian Sport Network

Last year, the former Bordeaux and Norwich City footballer Cédric Anselin excused himself from his job coaching schoolchildren and returned to his home in suburban Norfolk. He was ready to do something that had been lingering in his mind for months, even years. Anselin had come close to killing himself four years earlier but had been saved by his wife. This time he was alone and determined to complete the act. Anselin was a Ligue 1 title winner who had represented France at Under-21 level and played in a Uefa Cup final alongside Zinedine Zidane, but was absolutely ready to end his life. In the end he was saved by a single phone call.

He found himself gazing at his phone, and thinking about a fellow former footballer among his contacts. “In the darkness, this light was shining from my phone and drew my attention,” he remembers. “In a split second, I realised I needed to speak to someone, anyone. Thank God I thought of Clarke Carlisle, a former player who I knew had gone through mental health difficulties. Immediately he told me: ‘You’re not staying alone tonight and you need to stay with someone close and go to the doctor tomorrow first thing.’”

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