SEBASTIEN HALLER broke down in tears when he reflected on his incredible comeback after beating cancer.
The striker was overcome with emotion in his post-match interview inside the Alassane Ouattara Stadium after scoring the winner to seal the Afcon trophy for Ivory Coast on Sunday.
Sebastien Haller in tears after Afcon win
APCancer survivor Sebastien Haller fired Ivory Coast to glory[/caption]
Credit: InstagramSebastien Haller was diagnosed with testicular cancer in July 2022[/caption]
In January 2023 Haller showed off his incredible new “f*** cancer” football boots ahead of his official Borussia Dortmund debut
He said: “We dreamed of this moment so many times,
“We hoped to get to this point and once again the match wasn’t an easy one.
“The joyous scenes we see now, what’s happening in the country, they deserve it too. I really hope it does a lot of people good.”
Life turned upside down
It was not only a fairy-tale win for the tournament hosts, but also for Haller who was diagnosed with testicular cancer 18 months ago.
July 18 2022 was supposed to be a normal day in training for the Borussia Dortmund forward.
The German side had began their pre-season tour of Switzerland, with Haller joining the squad less than two weeks after arriving from Ajax for £31million.
But Haller’s life was turned upside down when he reported feeling unwell in the morning.
Further examinations discovered that the ex-West Ham forward had a testicular tumour that was confirmed as cancer just hours later.
Messages of support flooded in after Ajax player held up their former team-mate’s shirt number before beating Red Bull Salzburg in a friendly the following day.
Road to recovery
Haller was all smiles though as he shared a photo on social media from a hospital bed before embarking on his first round of treatment three days after his diagnosis.
The caption of the picture read: “Good evening everyone I wanted to inform you that the 1st step has been accomplished!
“I would like to thank [Borussia Dortmund] and the medical team who have been exceptional with me.
“A big thank you also to all the hospital caregivers for their support and kindness ”
Just over a month later, Haller fought back tears as he appeared at an awards ceremony after finishing the previous season as the Eredivisie’s top scorer at Ajax.
In his acceptance speech, Haller thanked his friends and family for their unwavering support after starting chemotherapy, as he admitted “I’m lucky to have people around me”.
Haller netted 21 goals in 31 appearances for Ajax, helping them win the Dutch title.
The forward had started chemotherapy, and looked very different on the awards stage without his usual full head of hair.
Credit: https://twitter.comHaller gave an update on his condition while collecting the Eredivisie top scorer award[/caption]
Eyebrows were raised over whether Haller would ever play football again following two gruelling surgeries and four rounds of chemotherapy.
Just six months later he was back on the training pitch in the opening days of January 2023.
He unveiled new boots with the message “f*** cancer” on them after finding the net in warm up friendlies to show there were no signs of rust.
Haller was thrown straight back into the team by manager Edin Terzic.
It was written in the stars that Haller would net his first competitive goal since his treatment on World Cancer Day against Freiburg on February 4.
Haller went onto score nine goals in 19 league games that term, keeping his side in touching distance of Bayern Munich in the title race.
Haller said at the time that missing out on the Bundesliga title with Borussia Dortmund was WORSE than hearing he’d been diagnosed with testicular cancer.
Fairy-tale Afcon ending
Afcon was the golden opportunity to put things right.
Chelsea legend Didier Drogba celebrated wildly with the team
AFPHaller scored a brilliant goal to complete a 2-1 comeback win for the hosts[/caption]
But it was far from plain sailing with him not playing a single minute in the group stages due to an ankle injury.
And Ivory Coast made it into the knockout stages by the skin of their teeth after losing two of their three matches and going through as the best third-placed team.
Haller scored his spot-kick for Ivory Coast, who sacked their manager half way through the tournament, against Senegal in the last 16 clash.
In the semi-finals, and Haller was finally fit enough to start against DR Congo.
He sealed his nation’s spot in the final with a moment of magic before a fairtytale ending in Sunday’s final.