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I’m a former Premier League star – I turned my back on England to avoid temptations of booze and women

FORMER Liverpool star Markus Babbel has revealed he turned his back on English football to avoid the twin temptations of drink and loose women.

The German international won five trophies in 2001 with the Reds, including the UEFA Cup and FA Cup.

Markus Babbel made 73 appearances for Liverpool as a player

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Markus Babbel made 73 appearances for Liverpool as a playerCredit: Times Newspapers Ltd
Babbel managed Western Sydney Wanderers from 2018 to 2020

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Babbel managed Western Sydney Wanderers from 2018 to 2020Credit: Getty

But defender Babbel was sidelined for a year by the muscle-weakening Guillain-Barre syndrome, and after recovering joined Blackburn on loan.

However he returned home in 2004, ending his playing career with Stuttgart before going into coaching.

Babbel, 51, recalled: “When I went to Blackburn I ended up in another world. Liverpool had Gerard Houllier as manager, and we trained according to the latest developments in sports science.

“But Blackburn, under Graeme Souness, was old-school English football culture. We boozed a lot.

“When things went badly we would have training camps in Majorca or similar, and the team used to get f***ed up on alcohol every night.

“We all had to take part. You weren’t allowed to leave before you were paralytic.

“My Turkish teammate, Tugay, was the only one granted an exemption as he is Muslim.

“Sometimes these events actually helped, and the team would start winning again. I admit I found them fun.

“Having been through a serious illness, I wanted to take things more easily.

“I would have needed psychological help, but wasn’t clever enough to seek it. My English wasn’t good enough for me to explore my depths with a psychologist in England.

“So I took on a few things in Blackburn. I did a lot of things that meant my performances were no longer right.

“In England it is very easy for footballers to get female company. The temptations were great, and I made use of them for a while.

“But at some point I realised that I was not feeling fulfilled by them.

“For that reason I wanted to leave England in the summer of 2004.

“Had I not done so, things would have ended up badly for me.”

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