Sevilla have confirmed, via a statement on their official website, that head coach Eduardo Berizzo has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Reports started to emerge following the club’s remarkable 3-3 draw with Liverpool on Tuesday that the 48-year-old was ill, with the Liga club’s players having only found out on November 18, after a 2-1 win over Celta Vigo.
And the club have now confirmed the news via an official statement: “The medical services of Sevilla FC report that the coach of the first team, Eduardo Berizzo, has been diagnosed with an adenocarcinoma of the prostate. Future examinations will allow us to decide what steps to follow regarding its treatment.
“Sevilla FC wants to show its full support for the coach right now and wishes him a speedy recovery.”
Sevilla’s chairman Jose Castro added: “We’ve explained the feelings of the club in the official statement but the important thing is that Berizzo feels strong and is awaiting the treatment he’s going to follow.
“This is a personal matter and from here on, we are going to make it clear that he is our coach. We aren’t imagining any situation where he’s not and we are going to support him and fall over ourselves for him because we are sure that this problem has a solution. He wants total normality, he’s in good spirits and he’s dealing with it naturally.
“We knew 15 to 20 days ago. He told the players after the Celta match and it was something we had to communicate. Eduardo was the one to make the decision and he didn’t want it to become mixed up in yesterday’s match. The news was scheduled for this morning, though last night there were rumours about it.
“I work closely with Berizzo and, for me as chairman, it comes as a massive shock because it’s heavy news. Straight away I was there for him, and so was the club. I have to also give thanks for all the calls we’ve received, both from the sporting world and outside.
“The President of FC Barcelona has got in contact to offer the club’s full medical team. I think that says it all. Many institutions have contacted the club to wish Berizzo well and I want to thank everyone for this.”
Berizzo enjoyed a playing career that saw him turn out for Newell’s Old Boys, Atlas and River Plate before moving to Europe, where he played a season with Marseille. He then spent the end of his career in Spain with Celta and Cadiz.
A centre-back, he turned out 13 times for Argentina between 1996 and 2000.
His career as a head coach began in 2011 with Estudiantes in Argentina, before stints at O’Higgins in Chile and Celta in Spain. After three productive years at Balaidos, he moved to Sevilla in the summer, where he has enjoyed a promising start to his reign.
Thanks to their remarkable comeback on Tuesday, Sevilla now need to beat Maribor in their final group stage match to confirm their place in the last 16 of the Champions League, while winning Group E remains a possibility should Liverpool slip up at home to Spartak Moscow.