Napoli boss Gattuso struggling with auto-immune disease flare-up

By Patric Ridge 24 December 2020 98
Napoli boss Gattuso struggling with auto-immune disease flare-up

Napoli head coach Gennaro Gattuso admitted "only a crazy person like me would keep going" after revealing he is suffering with a flare-up of an auto-immune disease. 

Gattuso wore an eye patch on the touchline during Napoli's 2-0 defeat to Lazio in Rome on Sunday, and also sported specialised glasses as his team drew 1-1 with Torino in their final game of 2020 on Wednesday.

The former Milan and Italy midfielder suffers from an auto-immune disease known as ocular myasthenia.

It is a condition that causes the muscles that control the eyes to weaken and the eyelids to droop, while it can also lead to severe fatigue and double vision.

Nevertheless, Gattuso has carried on, but the Napoli boss conceded he has been suffering.

"I admit I've not been myself for the last 12 days," Gattuso told a news conference, having skipped media duties for Napoli's previous outing.

"I want to make an appeal to all those, especially kids, who look in the mirror and see something that looks odd or not quite right: life is beautiful. Embrace it all.

"The lads suffered too seeing me like this, I know that, but I'm alive. I've had myasthenia for 10 years, this is the third time it has flared up this badly, but it'll pass and my eye will return to normal.

"It's not just that it looks bad, this condition makes you feel really exhausted, plus seeing double 24 hours a day really takes it out of you. Only a crazy person like me would keep going.

"However, this is my life and there are worse things. I know some out there already assume I've got a month left to live, but I can assure you, it's fine. When I eventually die, I want to go where I lived, on a football pitch."

Napoli enjoyed a strong start to the season, though have tailed off in recent games, winning just one of their last five outings in all competitions.

They sit fifth in Serie A, nine points behind leaders Milan, though with a game in hand on the Rossoneri. 

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