Rome (AFP)

Italy rugby international Maxime Mbanda received the Knight of the Order of Merit medal on Tuesday for his efforts as a volunteer in the fight against the coronavirus.

"I don't have the right words to express the emotion I felt when I received the Medal and the Knight of the Republic diploma," said the 28-year-old.

The third line (20 selections), born of a Congolese father, himself a doctor in Milan, and an Italian mother, received his awards in a hotel in Rome where he is in a "bubble" of isolation with his teammates.

The Zebras player (Parma) was honored for his commitment during the first days of the pandemic this spring, when he volunteered as a paramedic for the Yellow Cross in Emilia-Romagna, one of the worst affected areas by the epidemic.

"This honor represents an important recognition for the commitment made by all during the confinement and my commitment is to continue alongside the Yellow Cross of Parma as well as my sporting commitments," said the volunteer ambulance attendant.

Last June, Maxime Mbanda explained to AFP his volunteering: "I transported more than 100 patients, I had trying services where I could not eat my lunch before the evening, because I could not remove my suit for fear of getting infected. "

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