x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Fabrice Muamba announces retirement from football

The Bolton Wanderers midfielder has spoken of his devastation at being forced to retire because of the heart attack he suffered in March.

Muamba suffered a heart attack in March. Michael Regan/Getty Images
Muamba suffered a heart attack in March. Michael Regan/Getty Images

Fabrice Muamba, the Bolton Wanderers midfielder, has spoken of his devastation at being forced to retire from football because of the heart attack he suffered in March.

The Championship club announced yesterday that the 24 year old - who had hoped to make a comeback - had made the decision to retire from the professional game after taking medical advice.

"While the news is devastating, I have much to be thankful for," Muamba said. "I thank God I am alive and I pay tribute once again to the members of the medical team who never gave up on me."

Muamba collapsed while playing for Bolton against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane in an FA Cup match on March 17.

He received lengthy attention on the pitch and it later emerged that his heart had stopped for 78 minutes. He made a recovery and left hospital a month later.

Muamba told Bolton's website: "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.

"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."

Phil Gartside, the Bolton chairman, 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 have the rest of their lives ahead of them."

Owen Coyle, the Bolton manager, 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 fled war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, seeking asylum in Britain.

Despite arriving in London age 11, unable to speak English, he went on to achieve 10 GCSEs and three A levels and joined Arsenal's youth academy in 2002. He later joined Birmingham City before moving to Bolton in 2008.

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