Following the highs of the Champions League final in 2008, where Manchester United beat Chelsea on penalties in Moscow, we booked our place in the final the following year. This time we were tasked with beating Barcelona and it was a bridge too far, with us losing 2-0, after the likes of Lionel Messi and Xavi ripped us apart.
Michael Carrick was among the players to massively underperform, with reports later revealing that the midfielder played with a broken toe.
The Boss was understandably angry and had a go at everyone. ‘You need to have a look at yourselves and see if you can play at this level,’ he said. Moscow was irrelevant. We were Manchester United and the expectation was relentless. ‘You’ve let a good chance slip away here,’ he said. The boss summed up exactly how I was feeling. After he finished, I just questioned myself again and again. Am I good enough?
Before the game, it’s hard to believe that United were deemed favourites, and plenty would claim your offer on accepting them as the most likely winners. But we were totally outclassed and Carrick has revealed he was left battling a feeling of depression for some time afterwards.
It was the biggest low of my career by some way and I don’t really know why. I thought I had let myself down in the biggest game of my career. I felt like I was depressed, I was really down. I imagine that is what depression is. I describe it as depression because it wasn’t a one-off thing. I felt bad or terrible after some games, but they you get over it in the next couple of days, but that one I just couldn’t shrug off. It was a really strange feeling.
Carrick has revealed that he didn’t speak to anyone about the way that game made him feel, opening up about it for the first time in his soon to be published autobiography.
I kept it to myself most of the time. Even my family didn’t know the full extent of it. It’s not something that’s really spoken about in football. I have not spoken about it before. For the lads that I have played with that are reading this, this will be the first time that they know [about the depression]. They wouldn’t know.
Carrick went on to play in a further nine seasons for the club before taking up his current positions on the coaching staff.