Sevilla Coach Eduardo Berizzo has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, the club confirmed on Wednesday, just hours after his side staged a remarkable comeback against Liverpool in the Champions League.
“The medical services of Sevilla FC can inform that the coach of the first team, Eduardo Berizzo, has been diagnosed with an adenocarcinoma of the prostate,” the club said in a statement.
“Further tests will determine which steps to follow regarding his treatment.
“Sevilla FC wants to show their full support to the coach right now and wishes him a speedy recovery.”
Berizzo, 48, made no statement on his health when speaking to media after the Spanish side came from 3-0 down at half-time to draw 3-3 against the five-time European champions.
A former centre-back for River Plate, Marseille and Celta Vigo among others, Berizzo is in his first season as Sevilla boss after three successful years in charge of Celta.
Several Sevilla players had hailed Berizzo’s powers of motivation to orchestrate their second-half fightback.
“We had to come out with a different attitude for the fans and for the boss, he made us play like that,” said Argentine international Ever Banega.
“He turned the situation around in the second-half.”
Spanish football has rallied round Berizzo with numerous clubs, including his former side Celta sending their support.
“All our strength and support for Berizzo,” the Galicians posted on Twitter.
“Be strong boss, you are in the best place in the world to not give in because there they never give up,” said Sevilla’s legendary former sporting director Monchi, who joined Roma earlier this year.
Sevilla sit fifth in La Liga and need just a point from their final Champions League group game away at Maribor to secure their place in the last 16.
It remains to be seen whether Berizzo will need to take time away from his duties as coach to concentrate on his recuperation.
In the 2012/13 season, then Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova stood aside for several months as he underwent treatment for throat cancer in New York.
Vilanova returned for the final two months of the season as Barca won the league with a club record 100 points, but resigned shortly afterwards and passed away in April 2014 at just 45.