Francesco Acerbi is waiting to hear whether his cancer has returned and criticised those who accused him of doping.
The Sassuolo defender had a testicular tumour removed in July and had returned to the field, but failed a routine doping test after the game with Cagliari on December 1. 
He tested positive for hCG, a hormone that is often linked to the presence of a tumour, so it is feared he is suffering a relapse.
“I never took any banned substance, so it was horrible to be called a doped player,” Acerbi told Sport Mediaset.
“The accusations irritated me, especially for the effect it had on my loved ones. I had already done anti-doping tests before the Cagliari game, so if I was taking something they would’ve stopped me earlier.
“I am really angry. Before emitting sentences, people should look at the truth. Those who said I was doped were throwing mud at me, the club and the doctors.
“The elevated hormone level can be caused by many things. How do they know what caused it even before I performed the follow-up tests?
“I didn’t think about suing anyone, in any case. I am too busy focusing on my health. I realise the newspapers have to sell, so they can say I’m a rubbish player, but don’t touch my health because that really hurts those close to me.
“I would never wish this on anyone. I ask for respect for my health and my loved ones.”
Acerbi is suspended while the more in-depth tests are performed in a bid to track the source of this hormone. His Sassuolo teammates wore special shirts with a message for ‘Ace’ in last night’s game with Juventus.
“They were wonderful and really moved me. It’s great to see people who remain close to you.”