Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen has sent a heartfelt message of support to Carl Ikeme of Wolves, who has been diagnosed with cancer.
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The Championship club confirmed on Thursday that the Nigeria international has leukaemia and will begin an immediate course of chemotherapy.
A number of social media posts wishing Ikeme well have been sent from across the footballing world, with Manchester United’s David de Gea and former Real Madrid captain Iker Casillas among the latest to send their support.
Ter Stegen took to his official Facebook page on Friday to encourage people not to take their health for granted and wish Ikeme “all the strength in the world” in his recovery.
He wrote: “Today I read the story about Carl Ikeme, a goalkeeper for Nigeria and Wolverhampton, who’s been diagnosed with acute leukemia [sic]. A person I’ve never met but his story affects me and touches my heart.
“I can’t underline how important health is. In sport, it means a lot for every athlete; and it’s not just crucial so that we perform well but our health does affect us mentally also. I try to be in the best possible shape, remembering to follow my diet and regularly check up on my health status. I think about this all time. I would never want to see a player get injured, especially when it’s serious. I know the feeling and it’s the worst.
“But more alarming than an injury, is having to stop what you love because of your health. It’s complicated to understand and a painful reality to relax. And when the cause is cancer. I am speechless. I don’t know what to say.
“I wish Carl and his family all the strength in the world. I’m sure his team-mates and club will be there too, and all their fans. It’s important to be united! And me too, I offer all my possible support. I’m hoping he can fight like goalkeepers always do, with a calm and positive mind.
“I believe in you, Carl. Be strong. Be brave.”