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Italy’s Francesco Acerbi refuses to leave children’s hospital

Italy Training Session And Press Conference

FLORENCE, ITALY - OCTOBER 08: Francesco Acerbi of Italy looks on during a Italy training session at Centro Tecnico Federale di Coverciano on October 8, 2019 in Florence, Italy. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

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The Italian national team took a visit to Bambino Gesù clinic, a children’s hospital in Rome on Thursday, and it was revealed that Francesco Acerbi took the time to visit with each and every sick child he could, above and beyond the scheduled event.

According to Italian national team press officer Alessandro Iapino, Acerbi stayed behind after the departure of the rest of the squad because he felt the need to make contact with every child in the facility. When told the team bus was leaving, he replied, “I don’t care, they can go. I’ll get a taxi, but I won’t leave until I’ve seen everyone.”

Acerbi has close ties to the children at the hospital, having himself battled testicular cancer in the past. The 31-year-old defender missed time during the 2013/14 season after a tumor was removed and Acerbi underwent chemotherapy.

During the team’s visit, the players and staff brought tickets to the Euro 2020 qualification match against Greece today as well as presents and memorabilia. Roberto Mancini and some of the players played games with the children as well. The players in turn received two bibs decorated by the children that will be worn during the qualification match. The trip is a follow-up from a trip some of the children took in June to visit the team’s Coverciano training ground.

Italy currently sits top of Group J with a perfect six wins in six matches. A win against Greece could potentially secure qualification to the Euro 2020 finals.

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