Defoe breaks down in tears as he discusses Bradley Lowery

Jermain Defoe and Bradley Lowery

Bradley Lowery has neuroblastoma and is receiving palliative care at home

Bournemouth striker Jermain Defoe said Bradley Lowery will “always be in my heart” as he tearfully spoke about the terminally ill six-year-old.

Ex-Sunderland player Defoe has formed a close friendship with the Black Cats fan and mascot, who has neuroblastoma and is receiving end-of-life care.

He asked for two minutes to compose himself when asked about Bradley at a Cherries news conference on Thursday.

“He’s obviously struggling. I can say it’s a matter of days,” said Defoe, 34.

He wiped away tears as he added: “It’s been hard because I have kept this in for so long.”

Defoe has pledged to keep in touch with the family, from Blackhall Colliery, near Hartlepool, after his move to Bournemouth. He has described his relationship with Bradley as the “highlight of his season”.

“I speak to the family every day. I was with him a few days ago and it was tough to see him suffer like that,” said the England international.

“He will always be in my heart for the rest of my life. There isn’t a day that goes past when I don’t wake up and check my phone or think about little Bradley.

“His love is genuine and I can see it in his eyes when he looks at me.”

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