Hearts striker Pinilla admits breakdown

Mauricio Pinilla has revealed how Hearts moved quickly to help him beat depression.

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The Tynecastle club paid £35,000 to send their mercurial striker to Spain for psychiatric treatment and he made his first-team return in the recent defeat by Dundee United.

Pinilla said: "I had reached the point where I was ready to explode. I was going to quit football and I could not bear another day in Scotland.

"A day before our flight, Pedro Lopez and other Hearts directors arrived at my house and we spoke for four hours. In the end, they convinced me that psychiatric treatment was the only way out.

"My spell in the clinic was agony at first. Their diagnosis was that I had suffered a nervous breakdown and depression.

"The first week was hellish. I could not look at the internet, read the papers or have contact with the outside world. But once I got to know other people in the clinic I realised that my situation was not as bad as some of theirs.

"Since I have left a psychiatrist has come to visit me at the end of each week to monitor my rehabilitation. But I still have to continue taking four pills a day, and I can't touch alcohol for the next 18 months. I can't even drink coffee or cola."

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