September 24, 2023
France midfielder Blaise Matuidi and England midfielder Dele Alli

Dele Alli Opens Up About Childhood Trauma and Addiction Struggles

Dele Alli, the 27-year-old professional footballer, bravely shared his experiences of childhood sexual abuse and addiction. Speaking candidly with Gary Neville on The Overlap, Alli shed light on the traumatic events that have impacted his life and career.

Alli revealed that at the age of six, he was sexually abused by his mother’s friend, a painful ordeal compounded by his mother’s alcoholism. Subsequently, he was sent to Africa in an attempt to instill discipline but was eventually brought back to the UK. By the age of seven, he began smoking, and at eight, he found himself involved in drug dealing, hiding illicit substances beneath his football during his travels.

The hardships continued as Alli recounted being hung off a bridge by an individual from his neighborhood at the age of eleven. However, he found solace and support when he was adopted by a loving family at the age of twelve. Expressing gratitude for his adoptive family, Alli acknowledged their incredible impact on his life.

The footballer also disclosed his battle with addiction, specifically with sleeping tablets. Alli emphasized that his struggle is not an isolated incident within the footballing community, suggesting it is a prevalent issue often hidden from public view. Following a period spent on loan at Besiktas and his return to England, Alli underwent surgery, leading him to confront his mental health and addiction concerns. He made the courageous decision to seek help at a modern rehab facility specializing in addiction, mental health, and trauma.

Alli acknowledged the difficulty in discussing recent events and expressed his fear in opening up about his experiences. However, he believed it was the right time to share his story, hoping to raise awareness about these issues and offer support to others who may be facing similar challenges.

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Through this interview, Dele Alli provides a powerful testament to the enduring impact of childhood trauma while shedding light on the prevalence of addiction in the footballing world. His openness and determination to seek help serve as an inspiration for others struggling with similar circumstances, reminding them that they are not alone in their battles.