Thursday, 16 August 2012

Muamba bids adieu to Football

Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba retires from professional football on health grounds at the age of 24. 

He collapsed during an FA Cup tie away to Tottenham Hotspur in March and his heart then stopped beating for 78 minutes. 

Muamba said "While the news is devastating, I have much to be thankful for." 

"I thank God that I am alive and I pay tribute once again to the members of the medical team who never gave up on me." 

"I would also like to thank everyone who has supported me throughout my career and the Bolton fans who have been incredible. I am blessed to have the support of my family and friends at this time." 

"Since suffering my heart attack and being discharged from hospital, I have remained utterly positive in the belief I could one day resume my playing career and play for Bolton Wanderers once again." 

"As part of my on-going recovery, last week I travelled to Belgium to seek further medical advice from a leading cardiologist. 

"But the news I received was obviously not what I had hoped it would be and it means I am now announcing my retirement from professional football. 

"Football has been my life since I was a teenage boy and it has given me so many opportunities. 

"Above all else, I love the game and count myself very lucky to have been able to play at the highest level." 

Bolton chairman Phil Gartside said: "To have Fabrice here and with us is truly amazing and we are all very thankful for that. 

"We are all hugely disappointed that Fabrice will be unable to return to his playing career but we have to be guided by the medical recommendations and the best interests of Fabrice. The most important thing is that Fabrice and his family has the rest of their lives ahead of them." 

Bolton boss Owen Coyle said: "We have spoken with Fab and he knows we will always support him in whatever he wants to do and that we will always be here for him. 

"He is obviously massively disappointed that he won't be able to carry on his career, but everyone has seen what a fighter and strong person he is in mind and body. We know that he will go on to achieve great things and within all this disappointment, the most important thing is that he is here, alive, today." 

Muamba and his family escaped war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, seeking refuge in the UK. In spite of arriving in London at the age of 11, incapable to speak English, he went on to accomplish ten GCSEs and three A levels and joined Arsenal's youth academy in 2002. He afterwards joined Birmingham, before moving to Bolton in 2008. 

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