Nenad Krsticic: Fought for his life, and won
Having won the derby against Genoa and Bologna at home, Sampdoria entered Artemio Franchi to fight for victory against Fiorentina. Nenad Krsticic scored in 48' (1-1). At first, his celebration was normal. Then, his eyes shed tears. As he had done four years ago when he heard that he has only 48 hours left for his life...
In December 2008, the 18-year-old Nenad Krsticic returned to Serbia for Christmas to see their relatives.
There was not a long time since he left OFK Beograd, to try his fortunes in one of the best leagues in Europe. The scouts of the Italian team had spoken with the best words for him.
From the first day he returned home, however, his family noticed that something was amiss. Stomach pains and loss of appetite. The symptoms began to appear shortly after his surgery to correct the damage suffered in his meniscus. The medical team of Sampdoria was puzzled and wanted to submit him into more detailed tests before traveling to his country.
The chief of the medical staff of Sampdoria telephoned the player to control the situation. He was worried when he learned that there was no progress. Meanwhile, blood tests had shown some anomalies, while the biopsy tissue had no result.
"Come back to Genoa" said the medical chief to Krsticic. Shortly after his return, the biopsy results came. Burkitt's lymphoma. Without intense treatment, the young Serb might not even make it to the new year. Even with treatment, however, there was no guarantee of living...
His parents left immediately for Italy to find his side. He stayed in the hospital for four months. His weight reduced to 1/3. Even after treatment, it took one year to be able to train in the team again. But he never stopped to fight.
The medical stuff of Sampdoria said that "It was a tough and risky treatment, but we could not do anything else. At this point, his strong character played an important role. He never lost his morale, helped by his huge desire to play football again."
In April 2010, he played for the first time, since his adventure, with the youth team. Scored against AC Milan, leading Sampdoria in the semi-finals of youth championship.
"When I saw the ball in the net, I could not hold my tears. I saw the whole last year and a half, to pass in front of my eyes. Only the return to training caused strong emotions. But the goal was like I was born again."
He made his debut with the first team in a match for Europa League against Debrecen and made 13 appearances in the course of his team to return to Serie A.
In recent matches, Ferrara uses him in a more advanced role behind the striker. His progress is very encouraging and the goal against Fiorentina was his first one in the premier class. Another key moment for him.
"I dedicate the goal to Sampdoria and the medical staff. They sat next to me in the most difficult time of my career" he said. At summer renewed his contract until 2016 and said that he wants to stay in Sampdoria forever.
Sampdoria is not just his team. They never left his side. His thirst to play football again and wear the shirt of Sampdoria, helped him to fight with courage. The goal against Fiorentina was another important milestone on a path that goes through, thanks to the medical team and care of all people of the club.