Francesco Acerbi has plenty of perspective on football’s importance in relation to life and death.
The Lazio defender developed a drinking problem after the death of his father, while he has twice overcome cancer.
So, while Acerbi is keener than most to see the 2019-20 Serie A season concluded, with his side presently second in the table, just a point behind leaders Juventus, he says “health is more important” at a time when Italy has been devastated by the effects of Covid-19.
â€œI know that only too well,” the Italy international told La Repubblica earlier this week. “Trust me: the priority is to get out of this terrible period.
“We mustnâ€™t hurry, we must respect the rules imposed by the government. Itâ€™s better to stay at home an extra week than hurry to start everything up again and then find ourselves in the tunnel for several more months.”
That tunnel looks long and dark enough as it is right now. Indeed, it seems perverse to even be discussing football.
As the president of the Referees Association, Marcello Nicchi, told TWM Radio on Wednesday, “While there are still 600 people dying per day, we cannot talk about sport.”
And yet that is precisely what so many Italians want to do. At least for a little while. Any brief distractions from the sad reality of life are welcome.
As Nicchi quite correctly pointed out, hundreds of people are still dying every day from Covid-19. And this, in spite of the fact that the country has been on lockdown for a month.
Consequently, it’s hard to find anyone singing from their balconies anymore. Indeed, as we have seen in Naples, people are now more concerned with lowering baskets of food down to the streets below so that those hit hardest by the pandemic might at least come across something to eat.
And it is society’s most vulnerable who are certainly suffering the most.