Football is the most important of life’s unimportant things. That’s a statement that any football fan can understand. There are situations however when sport takes a back seat and the fight for life becomes the main priority. It happened to Nicolás Burdisso when he had to take on the most fearsome of opponents when his daughter was diagnosed with leukaemia at the age of two.
In the summer of 2004, Inter signed a defender from Boca Juniors. He was young but he’d already won a lot, establishing himself for his club and the Argentina Under-20s. He won Olympic Gold and an Under-20 World Cup with the Albiceleste, three Copa Libertadores and two Intercontinental Cups with the Xeneizes. These trophies were all on his CV at a time when he was motivated and set for a new adventure with the Nerazzurri. Then, the news that would turn his life upside down would come a few months later. Young Angelina had been diagnosed with Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Nicolás didn’t need to think twice about his new contract or career possibilities, he had to stay in Buenos Aires where his daughter was undergoing treatment. The Inter family was there to support him. In a typical display of generosity, President Moratti gave him all the time he needed. Mancini kept a place for him on the Champions League list, while his teammates waited at a distance for his return.
A happy end was just around the corner. The girl made a complete recovery and Nicolás could return to Milan with even more reason to repay the affection he received from the fans and club. He did so in exemplary fashion. He gave his all in every match, taking knocks and blows of all kinds, even a fist to the face in one tense situation after the final whistle. He enjoyed great success, winning league titles, the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa. But no win was worth as much as his triumph at Angelina’s side.