Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy “genuinely had doubts” over continuing his football career having had a spell in unemployment only six years ago.
Senegal international Mendy, 28, joined the Blues from Ligue 1 side Rennes for around £20m last month.
But he was considering his future in 2014 when without a club for a year after leaving lower-league Cherbourg.
“I had to take unemployment support at that time so I could dedicate myself totally to football,” Mendy said.
“If someone had said to me six years ago when I didn’t have a club that I would end up here, I wouldn’t have even bothered looking at or listening to them.
“I did genuinely have my doubts about whether I would carry on.”
Mendy spent a season in the B team of Marseille before another campaign in the reserves at Reims and eventually made it into the first team.
He went on to play for Rennes last season, helping the side to a third-place finish in the French top flight and a spot in the Champions League.
Having been drawn in the same group, Mendy will face his old club in Europe’s elite club competition next month.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) October 21, 2020
“Back then when I got the message from my agent at the time I started immediately to go back to the club where I trained when I was young, Le Havre, and I was training with the reserves there every morning,” Mendy said.
“In the afternoon I would go to the gym or to the pitch with my brother, to practise shot stopping.
“It was incredibly difficult and also my partner was expecting our first baby and so the unemployment support wasn’t going to be enough for us, we needed something else, and so I did start looking for other work.
“But then I had the opportunity to go to Marseille and I was given a trial there. Fortunately for me it worked, and when it did it was like a complete relief for me.
“Because one year to go without football is an incredibly long time. I had many, many doubts during that time. But it was thanks to my family, who helped so much in those moments to keep me strong.”