Sebastien Haller struggled to fight back the tears as he made a public appearance on Tuesday night to pick up the Eredivisie top scorer award for the 2021-22 season, just weeks after being diagnosed with a testicular tumour.
Haller netted 21 goals in 31 appearances for Ajax last season to earn himself a summer transfer to Borussia Dortmund. However, after feeling unwell during the German side’s pre-season tour of Switzerland, he underwent tests which revealed a malignant tumour.
Haller has since started chemotherapy, and after receiving a huge ovation from those in attendance at the awards ceremony, he revealed that the early stages of treatment have not been easy.
‘The first two or three days during the hospital (visit) and two or three days after, it’s not the best moment,’ the 28-year-old said.
However, Haller then highlighted the positives of his situation as he paid tribute to his former club Ajax, who have sent him food and well wishes to show their support, and his current employers Dortmund for standing by him.
The Ivorian wiped away tears on a couple of occasions as he addressed the crowd, which contained his wife Priscilla.
He continued: ‘I’m lucky, I have people around me. My physio helped me every day to feel okay. The people also from Ajax for the food, people in Dortmund. It’s not easy every day, but I feel great.
‘I think it’s something that can happen to everyone. I say sometimes, lucky it’s me because not everyone can have this difficult moment. I’m surrounded by a lot of people, but everything’s fine. I feel good.’
Haller is expected to be sidelined for ‘several months’ while he undergoes treatment for his condition, but the former West Ham striker is clearly trying to remain upbeat.
He delivered a similarly positive message in a recent interview with ESPN where he insisted that he still feels as good as he did before his diagnosis, while he also encouraged others to get themselves checked for potential tumours.