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Page last updated at 13:21 GMT, Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Goalkeeper suicide stuns football

Robert Enke
Born: 24/8/77, Jena, East Germany
Debut: 1995-96
Clubs: Carl Zeiss Jena, Borussia Monchengladbach, Benfica, Barcelona, Fenerbahce, Tenerife, Hannover 96
Germany debut: 27/3/07 versus Denmark Caps: 8
Awards: Bundesliga goalkeeper of the season 2008-09

The football world is mourning Germany goalkeeper Robert Enke, who died on Tuesday after being hit by a train.

Enke, 32, was struck by a train at a level crossing near Hanover. He had left a suicide note and had been battling depression since 2003.

Oliver Bierhoff, the German football team's general manager, said: "We are all shocked. We are lost for words."

Germany cancelled a planned training session and all interviews after the death of the Hannover 96 player.

Enke's daughter Lara died aged two in 2006 of a rare heart condition, and he struggled to cope with the loss.

Fans flocked to his club's Niedersachsen Stadium overnight to lay flowers and light candles at the gates in memory of their captain, who joined them in 2004. Hundreds more queued on Wednesday morning to sign an official book of condolence.

Hannover 96 removed all links to their regular website content, replacing them with a black page showing the simple words "Wir trauern um Robert Enke" ("We are mourning Robert Enke").

Germany's 1974 World Cup winner Franz Beckenbauer told Bild newspaper: "I feel endless loss and sorrow. When you receive news such as this, all other problems seem small."

Theo Zwanziger, president of the national federation, said: "Robert was a wonderful man, who had to cope with several blows of fate."

Enke started his career at Carl Zeiss Jena and club spokesman Andreas Trautmann said: "The right words don't exist for such a tragedy. We are shocked and our thoughts are with Robert's family. They have our heartfelt sympathies."

Report: Career of German goalkeeper

Jena, now in the German third division, will open a condolence book for Enke, with the intention that it will be passed on to his family.

The death caused shockwaves across Europe, at the various clubs where the goalkeeper had plied his trade.

Enke's former team-mate at Portuguese club Benfica, Nuno Gomes, told the club's website: "I find it hard to believe that he has died. It is a tremendous loss for world football, the loss of a man of rare qualities in our time. It is very sad news.

"I remember how he was just a young kid when he came here but, from day one, he made a great effort to learn our language and did it very quickly. He was a young kid with a huge desire to reach his goals and learn, a man with a capital M."

The club's current goalkeeper Moreira added: "I am shocked. All the memories I have are good ones. As a professional, he was one of the best to pass through Benfica and he learned to speak Portuguese in three months.

"If it was not for [Tuesday's] tragic accident, I'm sure he would have played in the World Cup."


The two Spanish clubs Enke played for, CD Tenerife and Barcelona, paid their condolences to his family.

Kevin Kuranyi, a striker for Schalke 04, told Bild: "It really can't and should not be true. Robert was such a great person. I don't know how I should tell my wife, she is good friends with Robert's wife. I feel for his family."

The German national federation posted a range of further tributes to the player:

• Christian Wulff (Prime Minister of Lower Saxony): "Germany loses an exceptional athlete and a very compassionate man. He was a role model."

• Michael Vesper (General Director of the National Olympic Committee): "I am shaken to the core. Our thoughts are with his family. This is a tragedy."

• Martin Kind (President of Hannover 96): "An absolute catastrophe, which I still cannot grasp."

• Ewald Lienen (former coach of Robert Enke with Hannover 96): "This loss is beyond words. I feel endless regret and sorrow that he was in such as situation that led to this final act."

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see also
A personal tribute to Robert Enke
11 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Suicide keeper battled depression
11 Nov 09 |  Internationals
The pressures of professional play
11 Nov 09 |  Health
Barca swoop for Enke
04 Jun 02 |  Europe
Enke in Man Utd no-go
06 Dec 01 |  Man Utd

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