Ann-Katrin Berger has fought this difficult battle before – and she wants to win it again after the recent shock diagnosis. “Unfortunately, after four cancer-free years, a recurrence was discovered in my thyroid,” wrote the German national soccer goalkeeper on Instagram on Tuesday. She added, “As an athlete, you have to fight every day and I will.”
Many of her fellow players from the EM squad, such as Alex Popp and Lina Magull or colleagues from their club FC Chelsea, commented with hearts and encouraging words. You know the story behind the post: In November 2017, the then 27-year-old was diagnosed with an aggressive form of thyroid cancer.
Ann-Katrin Berger remains confident
At that time, Ann-Katrin Berger played for Birmingham City. She actually went to training the next day, two weeks later she had a six and a half hour surgery. “The feeling of falling asleep and not knowing what was happening was intense,” she said in an interview last year. This was followed by a highly unpleasant radio-iodine therapy. The treatment was successful and she made her comeback on February 4, 2018.
“It was one of the biggest challenges in my life. She shaped me, and it made me bigger, stronger and more ambitious,” she told Sport Bild at the time. Now she is working “closely with the club doctor and a specialist in London,” wrote Berger, “my treatment will begin this week.” She is “confident” that this will hit as well as the first time. She wants to lead her fight publicly to be an inspiration to others affected.
The German Football Association (DFB) named “private reasons” for Berger’s absence in the nomination for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers at noon. In the evening, the EM second, who had not played at the European Championships in England, reported herself. She wanted to speak directly to her fans: The cancer was back.
In 2017, the bad diagnosis shocked her, but not knocked her over. “A psychologist was also present when we talked to the doctor. You knew what to tell me right away,” she reported in 2021. She only had two questions: “My first was whether I was going to die. The second question is whether I can play football again if I don’t die.” She did that impressively.
“We are all behind you, Ann,” Chelsea FC tweeted on Tuesday. Behind her club put a blue heart.