UCL Final: Inter Milan’s Veteran Cancer Survivor Has Nothing to Fear Against Haaland

UCL Final: Inter Milan’s Veteran Cancer Survivor Has Nothing to Fear Against Haaland

Elijah Odetokun
June 9, 2023 at 3:15 PM
  • The UEFA Champions League final between Manchester City and Inter Milan is closer than ever
  • One of the key battles to define the game will be between Erling Haaland and Francesco Acerbi
  • The 35-year-old cancer survivor knows a thing about overcoming challenges ahead of the final

It is just one day to the highly anticipated UEFA Champions League final between Manchester City and Inter Milan, with the stage set at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey.

Both teams overcame sides with a combined 21 Champions League trophies to reach the final - City dispatched Real Madrid while Inter brushed aside city rivals, AC Milan.

The English champions are odds-on favourites to claim the cup treble, but the Italians boast experienced players who know something about overcoming challenges.

Francesco Acerbi, Juventus, Inter Milan, San Siro, Italian Serie A.
Francesco Acerbi overcame testicular cancer 10 years ago during his time at Sassuolo. Photo by Nicolo Campo.
Source: Getty Images

Andre Onana, Romelu Lukaku, and Edin Dzeko are some of those with challenging upbringings and rough career paths, but veteran defender, Francesco Acerbi stands tall amongst them.

Acerbi not fearful of Haaland

The 35-year-old defender will face a key battle against Norwegian striker, Erling Haaland, one of the contests that will heavily influence the outcome of the match.

Both men have a height difference of two centimetres and are left-footed. Many defenders have come up against the City striker and fallen short, but the Italian is motivated differently - taking a cue from his previous battle with cancer.

According to Goal, the defender lost all elements of fear during his battle with testicular cancer about 10 years ago, while at Sassuolo.

He lost his father as he was about to turn professional and claimed he had nothing to play for in football that day, but in a way, surviving cancer brought back his love for football, as reported by The Athletic.

“It may seem an awful paradox, but cancer saved me. Without the illness, I would have probably been playing second-division football at 29... I wouldn’t still be playing today,” he stated.

Acerbi lucky to play final

The former Reggina defender can consider himself lucky to be playing in the final tomorrow after the official missed a moment in the second leg of the semi-final against AC Milan.

Sports Brief reported that Acerbi stomped on Sandro Tonali's foot during a corner kick set piece. The look on his face and quick apology suggested he knew what he was doing.

Inter fans’ gift to Acerbi

Sports Brief also reported that Inter fans gave Acerbi a gift to stop Haaland in the final of the Champions League tomorrow.

He was stopped at the San Siro after a game and handed a fishing net to use against the former Borussia Dortmund marksman.

Elijah Odetokun photo
Elijah Odetokun
Editor- EPL I Serie A
Erling HaalandItalian Serie AUEFA Champions League