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Sunderland to raise £1 for every ticket sold for Jermain Defoe’s return to the Bradley Lowery Foundation in a touching gesture

JERMAIN DEFOE couldn’t stop smiling during his ‘special’ return to Sunderland.

His Coming to Wearside as a confirmed free agent at 1.38am on Tuesday – and it’s emotional for many reasons.

Jermain Defoe is overjoyed to be back at the Stadium of Light - and the club will be donating £1 for every ticket sold to the Bradley Lowery Foundation

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Jermain Defoe is overjoyed to be back at the Stadium of Light – and the club will be donating £1 for every ticket sold to the Bradley Lowery FoundationCredit: Getty
Legendary striker Jermain Defoe became close friends with Bradley Lowery, who passed away aged six

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Legendary striker Jermain Defoe became close friends with Bradley Lowery, who passed away aged sixCredit: Getty Images – Getty

As DefoeThe announcement video shows that the 39-year-old veteran striker is back with One Last Dance.

Revered at Stadium of Light for his Premier League strike rate of 34 goals in 87 Premier League games from 2015-17, Black cat fans haven’t been excited about an upcoming player for years.

But the former England player is far more popular than the goals he has already robbed.

Defoe’s relationship with Bradley Lowery has stretched the hearts of fans around the world and inspired millions.

Defoe befriends Bradley, a terminally ill six-year-old Sunderland advocate with neuroblastoma, passed away in June 2017.

‘Best friends’, the inseparable duo have strolled together in the Stadium of Light on several occasions, with Defoe frequently pictured alongside Bradley in the hospital.

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The youngster even led England at Wembley alongside his hero three months before his death.

And The Black Cats will be donating £1 from every ticket sold to this Saturday’s home clash with Doncaster Rovers for Bradley Lowery Foundation.

Defoe hadn’t played for the Three Lions in more than three years but scored the opening goal against Lithuania, sending Bradley beaming and households across the land reaching for tissues.

The bond between the pair is so strong that the marksman even dedicated a tattoo to the young Blackhall on his forearm, titled ‘Brads’.

And the Bradley Lowery Foundation wasted no time in welcoming Defoe back as he signed a £6,000-a-week contract until the end of the season after leaving Rangers.

On Facebook, they wrote: “Bradley will smile from cheek to cheek. He’s coming, he’s coming, he’s coming. Jermain is coming back!!! ”

After her announcement, Defoe said: “I can’t stop smiling because this is such a special move for me for many reasons. I’ve had a lot of messages saying, ‘remember when you said you’d be back’.

“I said that one day I would and when I left, I wasn’t ready to leave yet.

“I have a special relationship with the fans here and the club is in a great position to be promoted.

“I want to be a part of more special times here and I look forward to that.”

Former England star Jermain Defoe is delighted to resume his'strong relationship' with Sunderland fans

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Former England star Jermain Defoe is delighted to resume his ‘strong relationship’ with Sunderland fansCredit: Getty

The club then released a statement from Defoe, which simply read: “I’m back.”

After being awarded the OBE in 2018, in large part for the work of the Jermain Defoe Foundation, he paid tribute to Bradley.

Since then, he has raised money for children with neuroblastoma – a rare cancer that mainly affects young children – and other life-threatening illnesses.

Defoe’s first spell at Wearside began seven years ago when the former West Ham, Tottenham and Portsmouth star joined MLS club Toronto FC.

He scored 34 goals in 87 appearances for a team that was constantly battling a slump before leaving. Bournemouth after being relegated in 2017.

Life has been grim for Sunderland since then, and they face an almighty battle to get out of League One for the fourth time.

We all know how highly regarded Jermain is among our fans and in the wider community. He’s back at a pivotal moment.

Sunderland sporting director Kristjaan Speakman

A 6-0 game against Bolton on Saturday left the Black Cats in third and that did for head coach Lee Johnson.

So while the mood is starting to take a turn as the club look for a new boss, the noise is back – thanks only to Defoe.

Black Cats sporting director Kristjaan Speakman said: “We all know how highly regarded Jermain is in our fan base and in the wider community.

“He returns at a pivotal time in our season, and we firmly believe he can have a positive influence on and off the pitch.

“Jermain’s personality is contagious and his mindset is elite – he’s a winner and a proven goalscorer.”

Defoe turns 40 in October and will certainly not be featured in every game.

But you can bet every League One defender will freeze in fear when he starts warming up.

And if his presence and goals inspire Sunderland’s promotion, the word hero won’t even imply Defoe’s Wearside legacy.

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https://www.the-sun.com/sport/premier-league/4591420/jermain-defoe-sunderland-transfer-bradley-lowery/ Sunderland to raise £1 for every ticket sold for Jermain Defoe’s return to the Bradley Lowery Foundation in a touching gesture

Huynh Nguyen

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