The modern footballer is a species often chastened for being too money hungry and lacking loyalty and heart.
However, Jermaine Defoe has proved that thinking wrong. The England striker visited terminally ill Sunderland fan Bradley Lowery for some "cuddles" after his family recently revealed concerns over the youngster's serious condition.
Defoe, who recently moved from the relegated Sunderland to AFC Bournemouth, has been in touch with Bradley since the start of last season in a friendship that has been heartwarming for fans. The striker even chose the six-year-old to accompany him out on to the pitch in Premier League matches. Bradley was also chosen as a mascot for England at Wembley Stadium when the 34-year-old scored against Lithuania in a World Cup qualifier.
Bradley, who suffers from a rare cancer called neuroblastoma, threw a party on Friday night, which the new Bournemouth forward attended.
Early in June, Bradley's mother announced on Facebook that her son was now very weak, and was 'deteriorating fast'. The latest update said that Bradley was finding breathing difficult and was 'very weak' but was still fighting.
His family also shared a heartwarming picture of the England star cradling Bradley, with those close to him saying it was the youngster’s way of saying his goodbyes. "I think it was his way of saying his goodbyes," wrote family friend Guy Lynn on Friday.
"It was so heartwarming seeing how Bradley reacted. He was so happy and laid for ages getting cuddles. Bradley was really relaxed with him," Lynn added.
The six-year old's girlfriend Poppy and his cousins were also invited to the party.
Updated Date: Jul 02, 2017 18:48:00 IST