Bournemouth striker Jermain Defoe has given an interview to ESPN Brasil this week, in which he talked mostly about his personal life as a footballer.
One of these subjects was his friendship with Bradley Lowery, with the young Sunderland fan’s story even made the news in Brazil.
Asked if he had any idea of how big things would become when he first met Bradley, Bournemouth’s Defoe said: “No, because when I first met Bradley, it was like… you know, the games just have mascots and stuff like this. I remember that the lady, Louise, the press officer at the club, she just said to me: ‘There’s a little boy, you’re his favourite player, he’s not well, can you walk out with him, in the first game of the season, against Everton?’
“I said ‘yeah, no problem, it’s cool’. I remember him coming to the changing rooms, he ran over to me, showed me his boots, jumped on me and stuff like that. I think that just from that moment, really, just like the way he looked at me… it’s hard to actually describe it, but it was that instant connection. And after that I was like ‘I wanna go see him’.
“So what I did was, every opportunity I could I would go to the hospital to spend time with him. And I’d speak to his mum. And his mum used to say stuff like literally he would be in bed all day, he wouldn’t move, then I would come in, and he would jump up. As soon as he hard my voice, he would just jump out of the bed.
“To the end, it was difficult to see him succumbing to the effects of the cancer. But just so many good memories. I’ve spent a lot of time with him.”
Speaking of the striker’s current form, reporter João Castelo Branco mentioned that Defoe has played against his Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe, and also faced the national team boss Gareth Southgate on the pitch.
But the striker doesn’t feel like he should be compared with those guys, because he’s not planning to retire anytime soon.
“It’s what it is, you know. You’re getting older, but I refuse to believe that when you get to a certain point, you have to stop. If you look after your body, your body looks after you.”
Knowing that he was talking to a Brazilian TV channel, Defoe also wanted to express his admiration of one of the country’s greatest strikers ever, and talked about how much inspiration he gets from Ronaldo: “R9, I love him. I still watch him to this day. When I’m home, sometimes, before games, I go on YouTube.
“Even yesterday, I was on YouTube, and I just put like his goals, and stuff like that. And I think, and probably many people will agree, I think he’s the best number nine I’ve ever seen. And on his day, just unplayable. The best ever, for sure.”
A Ronaldo inspired goal for Bournemouth soon? Eddie Howe will take that.