Albinoleffe Coach Emiliano Mondonico confirms he's going back to work after surgeons removed a 5kg tumour.
The former Atalanta and Torino tactician left his job last week for undisclosed personal reasons, but has now revealed what happened and his race to get back to the bench.
“The surgeons removed a huge benign tumour that fortunately had not affected any vital organs,” he told the Gazzetta dello Sport.
“We are waiting for the results of tests, but the medics are optimistic this operation should've resolved the problem.
“I had no pain up until a week ago, absolutely nothing. It was only after a routine exam that the intern became suspicious, spotting on the scans a mass that went from the right kidney to cover liver, stomach and intestine. It was something incredible for the medics, too, so we had to have the operation.”
Mondonico, nicknamed ‘Il Mondo', has lost 10kg since the surgery, partly because the tumour itself weighed 5kg.
“I tried telling the team that I was going on vacation to the Maldives for two weeks, and some believed me, but in the end the President had to tell them the truth. If I had a point for every stitch the surgeons gave me, then Albinoleffe would already be safe,” he joked.
“The affection that the football world has shown me has been wonderful. Football is my life and I can only thank you all. It's not easy to carry on in these situations, but sometimes a pat on the shoulder can remind you that you're not alone.”
Mondonico's assistant manager has taken over in his absence, but the Coach is keeping a close eye on developments even from his hospital bed.
“Saturday's game was important, because football gives you the strength to focus only on that. Football has always been my life and until this life stays within me, I will continue working in football.
“To be on the bench next weekend would mean so much to me. I'll think of the rest when we have the chance to rest, but I can guarantee I'll be back on the bench.”
Mondonico hopes to make his comeback for Albinoleffe's home game against Padova on February 19.
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £5,000 monthly.