He cried, suffered and lied to close friends and family. With deep insights into his inner life, Max Eberl reported back in the first interview since he left Mönchengladbach and took time out due to exhaustion.
After the successful "journey to myself", Eberl spoke openly and in detail about his life crisis - but not only. The 49-year-old also sharply criticized his ex-club Borussia Mönchengladbach and justified his move to RB Leipzig of all places. "In the end there is only one person you really have to be accountable to," said Eberl in an interview with "Welt am Sonntag", "and that's you."
But it was a difficult road for Eberl to come to this realization. He openly admits that after a few trips abroad he also sought "professional help". "But the greater journey was the psychological one - a journey to myself".
Eberl: "I was in a dead end"
He only realized late how the business of professional football had affected him. "The next game is coming up, but at some point the mountain will get bigger and bigger with everything that has accumulated," he explained. On the way there he "lied" to "close friends and family - I'll put it in quotation marks". Whenever he was asked if he was okay, he always said yes. "I didn't want to be a burden to anyone, I didn't want to show any weaknesses, especially not in this business." A Max Eberl was always marching - and yet had to realize: "In the end, however, the mountain was too big. I was in a dead end".
He himself was "at peace," added the future sports director of Bundesliga competitor RB Leipzig: "If I come back to the Gladbach stadium at some point, nobody can take away what I did there and what we achieved together. I can look everyone in the eye there. I don't know if they can too."
Contact to Gladbach largely broken off
Above all, the open letter from the Gladbach fan project, in which, among other things, doubts were raised about Eberl's honesty regarding his exhaustion, hit him hard. He can understand the disappointment about his move to RB Leipzig, "but not that I'm accused of lying and theatrical play - and that the club doesn't immediately reject something like that". He is "very disappointed that people I've worked with almost every day for 23 years don't believe me."
The contact to Gladbach has now largely broken off. It "hurt him at first", but ultimately also helped him "to finish it", said Eberl.
At the beginning of his break, he "cried a lot" and also started to "write a diary. I still do that to this day". In August he felt "how football got me hooked again and how strength and energy came back". Eberl does not see the fact that he is now responsible for the RB project, which he himself used to criticize sharply, as a big no-go. He was "just in the mood to work for Leipzig". December 15 is his first official day at work with the cup winners.
He still stands by his statements against Leipzig regarding the multi-million Red Bull aid. "And yes: I criticized these grants, but what they did with them in Leipzig is outstanding. There are many traditional clubs that - apart from Bayern - have made many wrong decisions compared to RB," said Eberl. He "consciously" decided to "play at the top of the Bundesliga".