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Braithwaite slams ex club ignoring players' mental health

Martin Braithwaite
Martin Braithwaite Image credit: football-espana.net

Espanyol footballer Martin Braithwaite has slammed his former club Barcelona for ignoring his mental health issues.

In a recent interview the player went on to say Xavi did not recognise his abilities, which saw Braithwaite make an early exit.

Barcelona wanted him to terminate his contract, which was due to expire in June 2024, leaving the club as a free agent. 

But Braithwaite was adamant he was going to stay, demanding his remaining two year salary. 

As a punishment he was not picked to play for the first three La Liga matches of the 2022-23 season.

Eventually the club let him go on deadline day, he joined Barcelona’s rivals Espanyol for free, where he signed a three-year contract.

With no connections with his former club Braithwaite told the Daily Mail: “Did I take it as bullying, I actually don't know.

“But I think it's important that you always think about other people's mental health. That's the way it is. I know how things work in this world. Unfortunately, football is also a business.”

He added: “In many ways, I can only smile a little at all the things that have taken place behind the scenes. I think I have disproved many critics. I was top scorer last season before I got injured.

“But then there was a change of coach, he wanted something else, and that is part of football life. Xavi didn't believe in my abilities, so I had to leave. I had known for a long time that the coach did not believe in me and that I had to move on from Barcelona.”

Between February 2020 and September 2022, Martin Braithwaite played 58 games for Barca across competitions, scoring 10 goals.