Francesco Acerbi has opened up about the shock of finding a tumour during a Sassuolo medical. “I’m a better player now.”
The 25-year-old centre-back was completing his loan move from Genoa to Sassuolo in July when his routine medical took a very unexpected turn.
“We had the usual tests in pre-season and the medic told me there was a nodule. Two days later, I was in hospital to have a testicular tumour removed,” he told the Corriere dello Sport.
“My first reaction was to have a ride on my bicycle, to be alone for a while. I also had to make a few phone calls, especially with my girlfriend Valeria.
“At first I thought it was so unlucky, why me? But straight away you realise you can’t change it, you have an illness and you have to fight it. All in all, I faced this in a relatively calm way.
“I was never afraid of dying, but I was annoyed at interrupting my career, of not being able to play football. I was afraid of losing time, as I had just arrived at Sassuolo. The toughest moment was when I knew I’d need surgery.
“I was in hospital for two days and after three weeks was able to resume running a little bit. Once I started walking and getting back to a normal life, I knew I’d make it.
“I’m getting married in June. The doctors assured me I can still have children, otherwise I might’ve broken it off with my girlfriend for her own sake.
“Am I back to being the player I was? In some ways I’m better. It feels as if I never had anything. I don’t even take any medication.”