Monday February 24 2020
Acerbi: 'I would turn up to training tipsy'

Lazio defender Francesco Acerbi says he was reckless in the earliest stages of his career, “I often arrived for training tipsy from drinking the night before.”

The Biancocelesti defender gave an interview to L’Ultimo Uomo in which he discussed numerous aspects of his career.

Acerbi, now 32, says he showed a lack of professionalism at the beginning of his career.

“Initially, I was playing for my father. He cared a lot, perhaps too much,” Acerbi told the magazine.

“Certainly he cared more than me. Maybe sometimes he focused so much on me that if he wanted to improve me, he had to hurt me.

“The fact is that once he was gone I had no one to play for, certainly not for me. I didn’t have the head of a professional.

“I had no respect for me, I had no respect for the job, no respect for the people who paid me. I would often arrive for training tipsy from drinking the night before.

“I was fine physically because I have always been strong. It was enough for me to sleep for a few hours and then go on to the pitch.

“I wasn’t afraid of facing great sides, not because I was brave, but because I didn’t give a damn. I just wanted to have fun and play.

“When I was at Milan, Ariedo Braida told me they were aware of my lifestyle and because of it they found me a house in Gallarate and not in Milan, but I went out all the same.”

Acerbi contracted cancer in 2013, and he says it changed his entire outlook on life.

“Cancer was my luck. I thank God for having it. I discovered that I was ill in July 2013, when I’d just arrived at Sassuolo.

“One year after my illness, something happened to me. I went to sleep one evening as if nothing had happening, in the morning I woke up attacked by terror.

“I was afraid of my shadow, I was thinking of the worries given to me, the opportunities I had thrown away, the wasted years, the evenings of excess.

“All together, all of a sudden. I had to go to a psychologist to overcome the fears. So I started a path that led me to improve as a man. By limiting the aspects of my character that could make me a train wreck.

“Now I want it all, without the disease I would have ended up having a career in Serie B, or maybe I would have stopped.

“Luckily someone up there loved me and sent me the disease, without it I would have ended very badly.”

Acerbi remained at Sassuolo for five years, before joining Lazio in 2018.

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