rsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno has revealed he no longer reads social media messages after once being told to copy former Germany international Robert Enke, who took his own life in 2009.
Enke, who won eight Germany caps and played for Hannover 96, Benfica, Borussia Monchengladbach and Barcelona, took his own life aged 32 after suffering from depression for six years.
And Leno has revealed that, while playing at Bayer Leverkusen, one fan told the goalkeeper to ‘do it like Enke’ on social media.
Since then the Arsenal keeper has ignored social media messages, regardless of how good his performances are.
“Of course I have a lot of experience with that, here and also in Germany. There was one thing that kept in my mind, it was crazy,” Leno told Sky Sports News.
“I had a very bad game and then one guy on social media said to me ‘do it like Enke’.
“Since I read this I realise that there are so many stupid people on social media. That is the reason I don’t read it even when everything is good. I don’t need that, it doesn’t make me better, it is wasting time.
“There are so many fake people that hide behind their computers to make you feel bad. Many times with racism, abuse to families, I don’t like it, I don’t read it. It affects your life, what is the point?”
Last week, Instagram announced stricter measures on accounts who direct abuse at footballers, but all the leading stake holders from English football have called on social media companies to do more.
Referee Mike Dean asked not to be involved in games over the weekend after being sent death threats, while a host of black players – including Marcus Rashford, Reece James and Lauren James – have been the target of racist abuse in recent weeks.