Admin l Friday, November 25, 2022
FRANKFURT – Former Germany goalkeeper Toni Schumacher has given a moving account of the mental health problems which followed his horror challenge on France’s Patrick Battiston 40 years ago in the 1982 World Cup semi-final.
Battiston had to be carried off the pitch unconscious after the clash with the Germany goalkeeper, who has become infamous for the violent incident.
“After that time, that was it with the, yes, depression,” Schumacher told a ZDF German television documentary.
“I called them grey wolves because that’s a better image. I was often sad, I withdrew. You then become dark and you don’t let joy get to you.”
Battiston lost three teeth and suffered a hairline fracture in his cervical spine.
“The grey wolves circled me but they didn’t manage to bite because in the end I got a grip on everything mentally,” Schumacher added.
“I didn’t allow myself to fall into that darkness or let it get to me or overwhelm me. I’m glad that I managed it the way I did. And that my kids helped make sure I didn’t do anything stupid.”
He said he apologized to Battiston for not looking after him on the pitch and “for behaving so crappy afterwards,” Schumacher said.
“I can only explain it with the fact I was insecure myself or afraid of the situation escalating. He accepted the apology.”