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Saturday 16 December 2017

Buoyant Trap assures fans he's fighting fit and back on the job

Shane Hickey

TRAP's back. "I wish also show you I am not dead. I live very well," he triumphantly declared yesterday in his endearingly imperfect English, hours after leaving his hospital bed.

Giovanni Trapattoni, the Ireland football manager, emerged from his week-long medical ordeal full of zest and giving a spirited display to any nay-sayers questioning the 71-year-old's future.

It was the first public outing for the Italian following an unforeseen abdominal operation which forced him to miss Ireland's 1-0 defeat to Argentina last Wednesday night.

"I wish to see you for two or three reasons. First, you miss me. I wish also show you I am not dead. I live very well," Mr Trapattoni said with a smile at a briefing in the Grand Hotel in Malahide, Co Dublin.

Constantly cracking wry jokes and warmly greeting FAI staff, he appeared full of life following his stint in hospital and gave the first insight into his illness.

The problem was initially thought to have been food poisoning but it quickly emerged that surgery was necessary.

Shunning his long-suffering interpreter who was sitting beside him, Mr Trapattoni explained the situation in his trademark broken English.

"My wife cooks very well. But before I came to Ireland, I ate Italian fish [shellfish]. After, I have a very bad bowel. I thought it was because of the fish but it continued for a few days so I said 'Doctor, I think we need to check this'," he said.

"We discover it is a situation from many years ago. I had a fantastic doctor in Martin O'Donoghue [of the Mater]. It was an old scar. I said 'Doctor, is this going to come about a lot?' He said 'No, it's not too bad, we can in two or three or four days decide'.

"I was confidence, so I said 'Doctor, operate immediately'."

Mr Trapattoni was rushed to the Mater Hospital in the early hours of Tuesday last week which forced him to miss Ireland's first match in the new Aviva Stadium.

Added to his frustration at being hospitalised was the team's loss to Argentina on the night. "I wanted to help the team but I could not. Marco [assistant coach Marco Tardelli] did very well but also in that moment, I couldn't make better changes to the situation. We have forget about it," he said.

His wife Paola travelled from Italy to be at his side during the scare -- cementing her status as a saint in his eyes.

"Sure, I didn't want my wife to come here. I said I only need two or three days, she show me her love for me. Okay, my wife is happy, she is happy to be here. She's happy because I'm okay," he said.


Boasting that he was running and in the gym two days before he became ill, he said he looks forward to getting back onto the treadmill.

With his health back on track, he is now ready to get back to the task at hand with Ireland's opening Euro 2012 qualifier on September 3 in Armenia the first big game on the horizon.

And the manager was quick to dismiss suggestions that he would be unable to fly for the vital fixture after he has been deemed fit to travel by both medics and his wife.

"In a week, I will start again in my gym, my exercises," Mr Trapattoni said. "I run in the country. I work in a gym at home -- 30 minutes or 20 minutes running.

"It is only four or five hours flight [to Armenia]. Today medicine, people are operated on in New York and after a week, they fly to Europe."

Paying tribute to the staff who treated him, Mr Trapattoni thanked all of those who helped him on St Patrick's ward, where he was a private patient.

"I thank them, also the nurses and doctors at the hospital. Their hospitality was fantastic," he said.

Just before he jumped into a people carrier along with FAI staff, Mr Trapattoni said he has yet to decide whether he will return to Italy in the coming days or stay on in Ireland.

"I decide with my wife who is here. We like being on holidays and [in] the hotel. We have to decide after tomorrow, maybe we can stay here," he said.

Shay can go: see sport

Irish Independent

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