Italian central defender Francesco Acerbi joined Lazio from Sassuolo during the summer and has already become somewhat of a cult figure in Biancocelesti. Replacing the Inter-bound Stefan de Vrij, Acerbi had big shoes to fill but has done so effortlessly, even eclipsing the defensive abilities of his Dutch predecessor. In an interview with the Corriere della Sera, Francesco Acerbi opened up about the cancer that changed his life and revealed more about his journey since, in an emotional story.
“At Milan, I felt invincible, free to mess up and go around the premises to drink lots of alcohol. Even though, on the field, I was going strong. The physicist helped me and luck was on my side. I had recently finished my experience at Milan, in 2013: a normal checkup by the doctors, they found a lump in a testicle; I was operated on immediately. I had already understood in Milan that I was not invincible. If you do not live an athlete’s life at those levels you pay the bill.
“It may seem strange, but in life I wanted to really become the footballer I understood, after the illness. For many years I gave everything – thanks to the gifts that nature has given me. I played, but maybe I lost the passion. My mother, the best mother, cuddled me too much, made me go to train. I needed someone to invite me to watch TV, to shop. In short, that did not make me feel sick. My brother was fundamental. The doctors told me that after the operation everything would be solved. It was not like that. After other checks they told me that with the tumor you never know, it can be expanded. Better to try chemo. I did it.
“I was worried about my family, not for myself. I was doing a normal life. Running, exercise bike and fun in the evening. I thought: this is how evil is defeated. I was sure to heal. Now I pray twice a day: in the morning and in the evening. But it’s not like I became a saint. I’m still fighting for my mistakes. But compared to before, now I know who I am. I distinguish good from evil. I know who I can trust. And I have removed the people I consider negative.”
For more reports, exclusive news and features, visit our homepage!