“I have my health.” he said. “I haven’t died. I am not down. I can walk. I can see, I can talk. It is hard but I can’t say that I am down.
“I have to be open because I saw some of my friends, they were depressed like me. They didn’t get support and they died.
“We are human beings. Of course you can earn big money but when you have a problem like I have, you have to know it to understand it.
“If you are not strong in your head, money is nothing. People have to understand.
“When you are depressed money cannot cure you. You see lots of people who are rich and have millions, billions even. But they sleep in hospital. They cant do anything.”
The pattern of Eboue’s mental health is a familiar one. Normally a bubbly figure in the Arsenal dressing-room, the Ivory Coast defender has a reputation for being larger than life.
The facade is gone, however. Stripped away with his emotional stability much more of a priority.
“People knew me as a fun guy.” he said. “Emmanuel is always happy. He brings a good atmosphere everywhere he goes. Even if I had problems I didn’t tell anybody.
“But now I understand the life. I understand about depression. Last week I went to see the psychologist. We spoke for over two hours.
“He told me that I need to talk more. Not to be closed. If you are closed up it is no good. You need to have someone next to you. He helped me a lot. He calls me and he talks to me a lot.”
We revealed on Christmas Eve that in the past 14 months Eboue has suffered two bereavements – his grandfather and his brother. A bitter divorce, finalised earlier this month, has left him broke and will soon leave him homeless.
He has now not seen his three children for six months. A FIFA ban – following a dispute with a former agent – ended his hopes of a return to the Premier League with Sunderland earlier this year.
Illness has also prevented Eboue from continuing his playing career.
The passing of Gohouri had come before the series of blows that have since seen Eboue’s life implode.
The former full-back, who played more than 400 games for Arsene Wenger’s Gunners, said: “I had to deal with it. I had to think about the future.
“When he died I knew that it was because of depression and so me, I was scared.
“It was my first time being in that kind of situation. I was scared. It was before my problems. When they made the autopsy they said that he’d been depressed.”
“My friends that don’t know my situation, when they see me they have said to me: ‘Emmanuel you are strong’ and that if it was them, they’d have killed themselves.”
Eboue’s grandfather, Amadou Bertin – who raised him as a child – passed away in October 2016 from prostrate cancer. Eboue’s brother, N’Dri Serge, died tragically in a motorbike accident in the same month.
The ban which saw Eboue barred from all football activity by Fifa centred around a disputed debt to a former agent. World football’s governing body ruled against him.
Despite the growing African contingent within the English game, Eboue is being supported only by the confidante he calls his sister, Yasmin Razak, and former Newcastle and Portsmouth striker Lomana Lua Lua.
“I feel alone.” he continued. “Apart from my sister and Lua Lua, who calls me every day to support me, I don’t have anybody.
“To me its not about the money. Its about the emotional support because I am very, very sensitive. I need people to be around me.
“I thank God and my sister for helping me. You never see God but I believe, I pray, I trust. If my sister was not here maybe bad things would have happened. Stress. A lot. Stress.
“Sometimes I wake up in the night and it is difficult for me to get back to sleep. I can stay awake all night. I play games, think.
“Even my neighbours, when they see me they know that I am not the same Emmanuel that they knew.”
To walk through the streets of Enfield with Eboue is to witness the affection in which he is still held by Arsenal fans, six years after he quit the club for Turkish outfit Galatasaray.
Yet, remarkably, the ex-Ivory Coast star revealed he is so embarrassed at his plight that he actually avoids the area of north London around the Emirates in case he is spotted by supporters.
“I am not the kind of person that likes to hide.” he said. “But now I have to hide because my situation is very, very difficult.
“People know me. I played for Arsenal for many, many years. Before I was high on the third floor. Now I am on the ground floor. I can see that I am going down.
“People have in their heads an image of Emmanuel Eboue.” he said. “The name. I know that people respected me.
“So when they see me on the bus I have to lie to them to say: ‘No, no, no, it is not me.’ Yes, I have to lie.
“They said: ‘You look like Eboue’. But I feel ashamed. I feel embarrassed.”
Once a key player helping the Gunners through the busy Christmas period of fixtures, Eboue can now no longer even afford a Sky subscription to watch them on TV.
He recalls the time last March that he was so desperate to watch his former club in action against Everton that he disguised himself and headed to his local pub in Enfield.
“I covered my face and I went there.” he said. “I was surrounded by Arsenal fans but they didn’t know it was me.
“I sat, I took a beer and I watched the game. But I kept my hood over my head and I hardly raised it because I knew that the Arsenal fans would recognise me.
“I would have felt embarrassed. I had never been in a pub to watch a game. It used to be in my house. Or maybe in a friend’s house.
“It was the life I had before compared to now. Normally the fans see me on the pitch. If I’d already said that I’d retired then yes, okay. I wouldn’t mind if they saw me in the pub.
“But some fans still think Eboue is still playing. Somewhere. So if they see me they maybe would be shocked.”
These says Eboue trains alone in a park near the Enfield home he is set to be forced out of.
“One day I was training in the park at night.” he said. “I saw one boy training alone. I put my cones down and I was training.
“He saw that my training was hard and he came and talked to me. But he didn’t recognise me. He asked: “Excuse me. How do you know all this?”
“I didn’t tell him that I used to be a professional player. I could not.”
Now, however, Eboue does want to advise young African players – as well as the wider footballing contingent – of the need for an appropriate support network to prevent the situation that has threatened to overwhelm him.
“Its not easy to talk.” he said. “But me, as an example, I want to tell players in the same situation as me about finance, divorce, the job. Everything.
“I want them to listen to me. Its better to talk. To talk. Don’t keep it in. Because when you keep it in you kill yourself.
“When you have pain, when everything is finished for you and you’ve lost everything, if you keep it inside you and don’t talk you are killing yourself. I want them to listen to me carefully and follow my example.”