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Football: Sébastien Haller, the match of a lifetime after cancer

2023-03-22T17:28:28.386Z


TESTIMONY – Suffering from testicular cancer in July 2022, the Franco-Ivorian striker from Borussia Dortmund tells his story in a documentary in collaboration with the Canal + teams.


It was near Boulogne-Billancourt, on Sunday March 19, that Sébastien Haller became the great champion for an evening.

A champion in a different role from the one he is used to taking on, that of the scorer who scored 11 goals in a Champions League edition (2021/2022), with the Ajax Amsterdam jersey at the time, just behind Karim Benzema and Robert Lewandowski, or who finished 13th in the Ballon d'Or ranking in 2022.

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A few months later, it was off the field that he proved his greatness, emerging victorious from a fight against cancer.

Accompanied by his family and loved ones, the emotion is palpable on the set of the Canal Football Club before unveiling the film of what represents for him, the greatest test of his life.

“If it were up to me, I would have come back in October”

After discovering his illness shortly after arriving in Germany, the Borussia Dortmund N.9 had no choice but to immediately plunge back into daily training, forced to maintain a certain physical form.

An essential step according to the spokesman of the League against Cancer Emmanuel Ricard, in such a fight.

His body is his first medicine.

The muscle will stimulate the immune system to fight against cancer cells, so maintaining good physical activity during treatment is essential.

»

Read alsoChampions League: Dortmund-Chelsea, Haller of renewal

Cycling, running or bodybuilding, the Ivorian international did everything to be back as soon as possible because no date had been planned.

If it were up to me, I would have come back in October.

October-November because in my mind the second operation was not necessary.

So I said to myself it's good, I'm doing four days of chemo and ciao, I'm playing

.

A second operation which delayed the deadline without discouraging the attacker who then counted on a return in early January, which he ended up realizing.

The perseverance and character of the 28-year-old striker paid off and the progress of the native of Essonne was only positive, enough to impress and even exceed the expectations of the German club.

When he returned to the hospital, I was with him and in the afternoon we went to Borussia.

We did all the checks together and I presented to them what we've been doing with Sébastien for five months.

They were very surprised and they saw that Sébastien was ready

,” explained Tanguy Fleury, his physiotherapist.

A family ordeal

Sébastien Haller had the chance to count on the support of his family and loved ones who were of unlimited support.

One of the most important elements in this ordeal was undoubtedly humor and self-mockery.

A relationship built around this, which his companion Priscilla considers essential: "

With Sébastien, in our relationship, we laugh all the time, we like that

". His sense of humor, the player does not hide it either with his teammates as was able to underline in the documentary the Belgian Thomas Meunier.

One of the first sentences he said to me was: I mustn't have too many balls because I only have one left.

»

A way of laughing at everything and playing down a situation that appears to be anything but happy.

We have two options, either we experience the situation really in a disaster and nothing goes, or we try to laugh about it and clear our heads to move on and it goes better.

Either way, good humor is contagious

,” added Priscilla.

Read alsoBundesliga: Sébastien Haller scores his first goal with Dortmund

From this long stage, the couple accompanied by their three children learned a lot and came out stronger.

There is not much that stresses me or worries me like before, because I have experienced such a level of stress that there will be nothing worse apart from illness.

I think that's what we're going to keep, a lot of detachment on things that are ultimately not very serious

, ”she adds.

For Sébastien, living in the present moment has now become essential, especially in contact with his family with whom he does not hide his desire to enjoy the best moments.

The ambassador of a still little known cancer

Testicular cancer is a cancer that affects more young subjects in 80% of cases, with an average age of 35 years.

It is also a cancer with a very long prognosis but from which 95% of people emerge unscathed, a figure which even rises to 98% in the youngest.

But there are still deaths, 87 on average out of about 2,750 people affected each year.

Emmanuel Ricard is delighted to have established a relationship of trust with the player who has become an ambassador for the League against Cancer.

"

It's important that someone like Sébastien plays a bit of an ambassador for the League against Cancer, because we need an ambassador, we've seen it for AIDS where footballers in particular have had an important role. to mobilize and fight against stigmatization and also to trivialize the issue of these diseases.

»

Read alsoChelsea-Dortmund: Kai Havertz dazzling, Sébastien Haller non-existent

Because men talk little about cancer, unlike women.

However, if the prostate is more common in men, in older men, Sébastien Haller was not the first player in Germany to be a victim.

There were three who were diagnosed with the same cancer as me (in 2022: Marco Richter and Jean-Paul Boetius from Hertha Berlin and Timo Baumgartl from Union Berlin

).

And we were able to discuss a lot about that, they gave me advice

, ”underlined the Ivorian international.

Advice, he almost seemed not to need it as his approach to the disease was the right one.

An opinion shared by Emmanuel Ricard: “

What he shows in the documentary is very strong and interesting in the way he talks about it, because life goes on and that's what he makes us feel.

He shows us that it is better to try to dribble and take it on the wrong foot rather than being locked up and he does it well.

»

After seven months of chemotherapy at the heart of a constant struggle, marked by two operations, Sébastien Haller has been back in competition since January 2023. He has already scored 3 goals in 10 appearances and in the Champions League in the round of 16. final, where his team was eliminated by Chelsea (1-0; 2-0).

Source: lefigaro

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