It has been a whirlwind few months for Maxime Mbanda, and there is plenty of cause for celebration for the Italy hero after the recent birth of his first child.
The 28-year-old has made headlines throughout 2020 for outstanding work off the field during the coronavirus pandemic, and he was duly named a Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic by President of Italy Sergio Mattarella for services to the country.
Back in March, Mbanda swapped the rugby field for the frontline by volunteering as an ambulance driver in Emilia-Romagna after getting in touch with the Yellow Cross, transporting patients to and from hospital after initially delivering masks, food and prescriptions.
Having worked up to 17 hours a day at the height of the pandemic in one of the most-affected parts of Italy, the recognition of his dedication with one of his country’s highest awards meant this year had already been hugely memorable for the Zebre star.
And Mbanda took to Instagram on Monday to celebrate his latest personal achievement, welcoming his new son to the world in a post featuring himself, his partner and the new addition to their family.
In the post, Mbanda wrote: “A name that in your language of origin, the Congolese Lingala, means “Firstborn”, an important name for your maternal roots and a name whose initial recalls that of your paternal grandparents and which I hope will reflect your character
“Welcome and good luck for your future: Mata Leone Mbandà.”
Mbanda will look to cap off an unforgettable year by steering Italy to victory back on the rugby pitch, when they take on Wales in the fight for fifth place in the Autumn Nations Cup on December 5.
Currently a veteran of 24 Test appearances, the powerful back-rower added two caps to his tally during this year’s Guinness Six Nations, as Italy fell to a sixth-place finish.