ROME, July 8 (Reuters) - In the popular imagination they are rich, drive fast cars, date beautiful women and are hero-worshipped every weekend.
So it comes as a surprise to learn that Italy's soccer players are an unhappy lot - if, that is, you believe the results of a survey carried out by Italian research institute Eta Meta and published in La Gazzetta dello Sport on Friday.
The survey was based on interviews with 124 professional footballers, the vast majority of whom play in Italy's top two divisions, uncovered a hidden world of worry.
Almost two thirds said they were stressed out by their job, citing the pressure to perform and fear of injury as the biggest causes of anxiety.
Far from facing up to their demons, 22 percent reacted to stress by withdrawing from the world. A third questioned admitted to taking out their frustrations on their loved ones.
One in 10 felt they did not have any real friends.
As for burying their heads in a newspaper, nearly one in five blamed the "continual criticism that arrives from the media" for getting them overwrought in the first place.
I consider professional footballer to be the best job in the world - in other words, it would be my first choice career if possible.
So it's surprising that they are so unhappy. But in economics they say that as soon as humans fulfill their wants, they develop new wants - they are never fully satisfied. It's true, but you'd think pro. footballer would be a good job.
I'm sure it involves a lot of pressure, probably moreso than most jobs, but I think the balance is in the positive side. They get to play football AND GET PAID FOR IT.
The worst stat is probably that 1/10 don't think they have any real friends - that would be really depressing.
I bet if Vieri was interviewed he contributed to the 'bad' statistics. He's such a crybaby bitch.