U.S. men's national team (USMNT) star Christian Pulisic has opened up on the difficulties that come with playing under the spotlight, as the Chelsea star reflected on balancing his happiness as a player and as a person.
Pulisic is under the microscope on two continents, with his status as American soccer's biggest name drawing even more attention to a player going through the highs and lows of playing for Chelsea.
Pulisic admitted those highs and lows do weigh on him as he rejoins the USMNT amid an up-and-down spell with the Blues.
What did Pulisic say?
"There are two sides of me," Pulisic said. "Especially when people ask you how you are sometimes, there's the soccer side and then there's the person side. The person side is even more important for me and I'm doing alright, in that sense.
"It's a lot sometimes. When I come to the national team, it's: 'How are things with Chelsea? What's this? What's that?'
"It's tough, it's tough. It's definitely played a lot on me and mentally it's been difficult at times, but I'm always very excited to come back with the national team and step away and get to enjoy playing with these guys and get to just enjoying football in general."
Pulisic admitted this season at Chelsea hasn't lived up to expectations, but that he is looking forward to leading the U.S. into World Cup qualifiers this week.
"Obviously it's been up and down this year for sure, not exactly where I want to be and how I want things to be right now," he said. "I'm just going to keep going.
"It doesn't affect me when I come here, so I'm excited to be here."
The big picture
Pulisic has spoken out several times in recent months about the importance of mental health, revealing in July that he has benefitted greatly from talking to a therapist.
He later said he initially believed that he was too strong to ask for help, but has since learned the importance of taking care of yourself mentally especially when playing at the highest level of European soccer.
Those admissions came as the spotlight brightened on Pulisic, who helped Chelsea win the Champions League last season while leading the U.S. to Nations League triumph against Mexico.
His role this season has been inconsistent under Thomas Tuchel, who has played Pulisic in several different positions this season for Chelsea.
In total, Pulisic has made 19 appearances for the Blues this season, scoring three goals despite dealing with some injury issues.
He remains a key figure for the USMNT, who are set to face El Salvador on Thursday in their next World Cup qualifiers.