Wednesday, 29 August 2007

A sad day for football

Today is a very sad day for football with the confirmation of the death of Sevilla and Spanish international player, Antonio Puerta at the age of 22. He collapsed on the pitch during the weekend game against Getafe and though he was able to walk off, suffered a relapse in the dressing room and required cardiac resuscitation.

A statement from Dr Murillo of the Hospital Virgen del Rocio confirmed the death. It read: "We regret to announce that the patient Antonio Puerta died at 14.30 (local time) as a consequence of postpanoxic encephalopathy and multiorganic dysfunction provoked by the cardiac arrest." Puerta's body will now be taken to the Sánchez Pizjuán, where fans will be able to pay their respects before he is buried on Thursday.

Puerta was a product of Sevilla's impressive youth system (he had been with the club for a total of 14 years) breaking into the side in the 2004-5 season, before becoming a regular the following year as a versatile left sided player who could play as a wing back or midfielder. He was fondly remembered by Sevilla fans for the spectacular goal he scored against Schalke 04 that put them in the UEFA Cup final for the first time in April 2006. He also recently made his first appearance for the national team in an Euro 2008 qualifier against Sweden. Even sadder is the news that Puerta's girlfriend is pregnant with their first child.

Rest In Peace Antonio José Puerta Pérez, a man cut down in his prime playing the game he loved. Here is his most memorable goal for Sevilla vs Schalke 04 in the 2006 UEFA Cup semi-final.

Antonio José Puerta Pérez Factfile:
Born: November 26, 1984
Died: August 28, 2007
Birthplace: Seville, Spain
Height: 1.83m
Weight: 74 kg
Position: Midfield
Games: 53 (Sevilla 52, Spain 1)
Goals: 8 (all for Sevilla)

Football Honours:
2002 - Joins Sevilla 'B' Team
2004 - Makes Primera Liga debut vs. Levante
2006 - Wins UEFA Cup vs Middlesbrough
2006 - Wins UEFA Super Cup vs Barcelona
2007 - Wins UEFA Cup vs Espanyol
2007 - Wins Copa del Rey vs Getafe
2007 - Wins Spanish Super Cup vs Real Madrid


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