Sometimes football offers sublime stories, which make you dream and above all give hope. That of Sébastien Haller is probably one of the reasons that make us love football. This Sunday evening, the Borussia Dortmund striker entered the history of Ivorian football. A bit more. Already author of his team’s only goal in the semi-final, Haller offered the Elephants the third CAN by scoring his team’s winning goal (2-1 final score) with a gesture of which only he holds the secret (and perhaps be Zlatan Ibrahimovic). A crazy emotion for him which comes from far, far away.
A year and a half ago, he had to put his career on hold when he learned he was suffering from testicular cancer when he had just signed for Borussia Dortmund. To cure this disease, the former Ajax striker had to go through chemotherapy to treat himself. A heavy treatment that he had to digest before hoping to one day resume his football career. Finally after 7 months of chemotherapy and two operations, Sébastien Haller was back in competition (January 2023).
Cancer less than two years ago
A year later, it is he who gives this CAN 2023 to his team. Like a symbol. And as since the start of his career, nothing has been easy for the 29-year-old striker. Called up by Jean-Louis Gasset in this CAN 2023 at home when he had just returned from an ankle injury, Haller had relapsed just before the start of the competition. An injury which kept him away from the field for the entire start of the competition. He had to helplessly watch his team’s fiasco in the group stages before playing his first match in this CAN against Senegal in the round of 16. Since this meeting, he had earned his place in the starting eleven under the orders of Emerse Faé. And the Ivorian coach was right to revive his scorer in this competition. Because Haller never hid and knew how to show the way to his people even in the most complicated times. The fact that he gives the coronation to his team is ultimately almost a symbol.
“It feels good to be rewarded. To continue to believe in it and see that it serves a purpose”he said on BeIN Sports before bursting into tears. “We dreamed of this moment so many times, we hoped it would come to this. The match was not a smooth ride. Scenes of jubilation are also what the country deserves and I am hopeful that it will do good for everyone. We believed in it until the end, the teammates pushed me to stay on the pitch as long as possible, I scored thanks to them. For the joy of an entire people”. Football has therefore decided to create one more beautiful story and Sébastien Haller, who has gone through the most difficult trials, is now at the top. Already a superstar in Ivory Coast, he writes his legend even more and will be able to fall asleep with a smile. Like his supporters.