Marcel Sabitzer reminds everyone that athletes are also humans too

Switzerland v Austria - International Friendly
Switzerland v Austria - International Friendly / Carsten Harz/GettyImages

After the 2-0 loss in the Champions League final against Real Madrid, many Borussia Dortmund players were left visibly disappointed. Among them, Marcel Sabitzer, who looked devastated with the loss and it clearly showed.

Many people didn’t realize how much the defeat affected the 30 year-old until he spoke about it in a press conference. Sat alongside Austrian national team coach Ralf Ragnick, Sabiter said, "We are professional athletes, but we are also human beings. Feelings cannot be hidden or suppressed. Anyone who saw me after the game knows what it did to me. I am still processing everything."

Sabitzer missed Austria's friendly match against Switzerland on Saturday. He watched on as his side wrapped up the preparations for the Euros with a 1-1 draw. "There is no need to worry about me for the tournament," he said, stressing the fact that he will be ready once things kick off in Germany.

Stress and mental health issues are topics that are often difficult to address, especially for professional athletes. Many people choose to refrain from these topics, often fearing stigma from the public. Sabitzer bravely addressed this issue and showed a great example.

As footballers are among the role models in society, what they do in public affects the behaviors of many people. Sabitzer being transparent about his struggle is something that can encourage people to open up.

Big stars like Thiery Henry have previously addressed the topic of mental health publicly. These initiatives by public figures can change the way people address these issues and enable those suffering to seek the necessary help.

In a world where players and athletes in general are asked to perform at the highest level without any real break, Sabitzer’s message is a great way to teach the public that anyone can have tough moments.

Austria are in Group D and will play against France, Netherlands, and Poland in the group stage of Euro 2024. It certainly won’t be an easy task navigating this group. It is understandable that Sabitzer wants to take a step back before leading the charge for his country and performing at the highest level again.