Former Everton defender Sylvain Distin has revealed he considered quitting football after a mistake against Liverpool in an FA Cup semi-final.
Distin became a firm fan favourite at Goodison Park during his six years at the club following a £5m move from Portsmouth in 2009.
He went on to make over 200 appearances for the club in that time, establishing himself as a key player under several managers.
While the majority of his time at the club was successful, the lowest point in his Everton career came in 2012 during an FA Cup semi-final clash with rivals Liverpool.
The French defender misjudged a back pass to goalkeeper Tim Howard, setting Luis Suarez free to equalise in a game that the Reds went on to win.
He’s spoken of how that moment still haunts him and now says the abuse he received on Twitter afterwards nearly led him to retire.
“It was at Wembley, in a cup semi-final with Everton lost to Liverpool,” he told L’Equipe, when asked to name his stupidest moment.
“We were leading 1-0, and I wanted to play it safe by relying on my goalie. But I missed my pass and Luis Suarez took the opportunity to score.
“Again, it’s as if everything happened in slow motion: you hope that a defender will intervene, that the goalkeeper will come out well, that Suarez will miss his shot…
“Then I got screwed on Twitter. It was a difficult moment; I even thought about quitting football.”
Distin played under several managers during his time at Goodison Park, first signing for David Moyes before featuring under his replacement Roberto Martinez.
While he flourished under the Scot, there were numerous rumours about a fallout with Martinez during his time in charge at Goodison Park.
And Distin admits it was the Spanish coach once gave him instructions that he simply did not understand.
“Roberto Martinez, at Everton, used to ask central defenders to move off centre when our keeper fired a six-yard shot, to give him short throw-ins,” he revealed.
“I obeyed that instruction, but not necessarily with pleasure because if we lost the ball in that situation, we were in great danger.
“It was funny to me because when I came to England, apart from Arsenal, all the Premier League teams would get the ball out of the way when they got to the six-yard line.”
Distin’s time at Everton also saw him playing alongside several big characters, with a plethora of players coming and going during his time on Merseyside.
This meant he got to enjoy playing with a whole different mix of characters, as is the case at every football club.
And, when asked to name the biggest joker and the party animal, he had no problem naming them.
“Leon Osman, at Everton (2009-2015), was a real clown,” he added.
“One day, he emptied a shampoo in a jacuzzi, and all the changing rooms had been filled with foam… Royston Drenthe at Everton (was the party animal).
“In terms of outings, it was a level above what I had known with Ronaldinho or Vampeta in Paris.
“He did not deprive himself. The problem is, Liverpool is a small town, and everyone at the club knew what they did at night…”