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Paul Scharner Reveals The Horrific Bullying He Suffered As A Young Player

Paul Scharner Reveals The Horrific Bullying He Suffered As A Young Player
By Gavin Cooney

You may remember Paul Scharner, the Austrian centre-back famous for winning the FA Cup with Wigan while changing his hair as often as Jurgen Klopp changes his line-up.

Scharner carved out an admirable career, which featured spells in the Premier League and Bundesliga along with international appearances for Austria.

That he achieved such a career is all the more impressive given the harrowing details of his youth career, as he revealed to Der Standard newspaper in Austria.

He endured horrific trauma and bullying while playing in the youth ranks at Austria Vienna.

I had no chance against ten men. They even smashed my glasses in the fight, and I could not protect myself. They bound my hands and feet with tape, shoved me face down on to a mattress and sat on me.

I could hardly breathe, fighting back only made things worse – maybe I should have carried pepper spray on me. They smeared lots of black shoe polish over my bare backside, and beat me with flip-flops.

Hearing my team-mates laughing only humiliated me even further, once they finished they even shaved my hair.

I got off lightly as I didn't get a tube shoved up my anus as well. But they completely cut my hair off in a number of places.

Scharner also detailed the legacy of such abuse.

This bullying has left a terrible mark on me. Why should I let myself be tortured, and why do people have to subjugate a young guy? We are not animals. I would have run amok the next day had my advisor not urged me to keep quiet for the sake of my career.

'I reacted by retreating into my shell, and found it hard to form human relationships with people in football. My coach later urged me to go for a drink with the people who had tortured me. It was absolute madness, and of course I refused.

Appalling. Scharner's strength and courage was always evident on the field; that he had to endure this to make it that far amplifies his virtues further.

[Der Standard


See Also: 18-Year-Old Gianluigi Donnarumma Left In Tears By Treatment From AC Milan Fans

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