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Sebastien Haller Shares Story Of Remarkable Recovery From Cancer

Sebastien Haller Shares Story Of Remarkable Recovery From Cancer
Eoin Harrington
By Eoin Harrington
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Sebastien Haller's diagnosis of testicular cancer shocked European football earlier this season, with the Ivorian striker sitting out the first half of the season while receiving treatment, just weeks after signing for Borussia Dortmund.

Remarkably, Haller has returned mere months after his diagnosis, and he has not taken long to get back to goalscoring form, in one of football's fell-good stories of the season.

Ahead of his new side's Champions League last 16 clash with Chelsea on Wednesday evening, Haller spoke to BBC Sport about his treatment, and said that the toll it took on his family was the toughest aspect to grapple with. He would also go on to say that his return to football has been a powerful moment, and has strengthened his bond with his teammates in Dortmund.

Sebastien Haller recounts cancer treatment

Sebastien Haller was one of the stars of the 2021-22 Champions League, scoring on every matchday of the group stages as Ajax swept all before them. His form made him a hotly contested prospect among Europe's top clubs, and it was ultimately Borussia Dortmund who snapped up the striker last summer.

Haller was to be dealt a horrific and unexpected obstacle mere weeks into his time with his new club. The ex-West Ham and Frankfurt striker was diagnosed with testicular cancer just two weeks after signing his contract with Dortmund.

After six months of arduous treatment, Haller made a remarkable return to training with Dortmund in January, and scored his first competitive goal for BVB earlier this month against Freiburg. In a curious and poignant turn of events, Haller's first goal for the club came on World Cancer Day.


BBC Sport spoke to the Ivory Coast striker ahead of Dortmund's Champions League last 16 tie against Chelsea on Wednesday, and Haller powerfully recounted how tough his treatment had been for his family to deal with:


If I was alone, just with my wife, probably it would be different. But as soon as you have kids, you don't have time to think bad because they need you. No matter what has happened, you need to show them everything is fine.

Of course you have some bad moments but I don't think that was the lowest part. Even if emotionally it wasn't easy because I was sick, all the attention was turned to me, not to other people, not to people from my family who suffer as well. No-one cares about them, which is a big problem.

For them it was really complicated. They saw me changing - just my face. This was the most difficult part to handle. You feel more stressed and more worried. It makes you more careful about what we are saying and how we act between each other.

Haller's return to action with Dortmund is one of the feel-good sporting stories of recent years, and he will no doubt have the backing of the club's famous 'Yellow Wall' as they take to Champions League knockout action this week.

Incredibly, Haller revealed in his BBC interview that one of his first thoughts when he was diagnosed with cancer was one of guilt towards his new club, who he feared had gotten a "bad deal":

I was thinking, "they have bought a player and after two weeks I can't play for I don't know how long."

What a bad deal. Of course I wanted to come back and give back the support they gave me. This was really important. They gave to me before I could give something to them. I was sick and they gave me support.

But I always knew that I would make it. A lot of it was mental and the second surgery made it a little bit more difficult, but I knew I would come back.

Haller concluded his chat with BBC by imploring men to get regular checks for testicular cancer, saying that his diagnosis had startled him despite being in the best shape of his life.


I was fit and I was doing well. In the space of three months the level I had of this tumour was really high.

We need to check. You cannot be ashamed. We are not checking only for ourselves but also for our family and friends and those around us. It can save a lot of lives.

We imagine many in European football will be rooting for Sebastien Haller and his Dortmund teammates to go all the way in this season's Champions League, after everything the 28-year-old has been through in recent months.


SEE ALSO: L'Équipe Ratings Savage Messi, Neymar And PSG Teammates After Defeat To Bayern


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