Wednesday, August 29, 2007

RIP Antonio Puerta, you'll be sorely missed


SHOCKED, stunned and saddened to hear that one of my favourites, Sevilla's Antonio Puerta, 22, has lost his battle for life after collapsing on the field in the La Liga season opener against Getafe on Sunday.

While I didn't get to see the match live, I was watching the replay on Sunday morning. Puerta went down just after the half-hour mark, just after back-tracking towards his own goal. There was a fair deal of commotion as teammates and doctors rushed to help him, fearing he'd swallowed his tongue. A short time later he was helped to his feet and walked to the dressing room. He seemed shaken, but ok.

The match went on, Sevilla came back from 0-1 down to win 4-1, his replacement Sergio Duda going on to play an influential role in Sevilla's fight-back. Not much was thought of Puerta's predicament.

Later came the news that Puerta has suffered a cardiac arrest in the dressing room and was rushed to hospital, where he was on life support. Last night, on SBS World News, the status was that he was "critical and facing up to the likelihood of brain damage".

Then, this morning, I woke to watch the Sevilla-AEK Champions League game. It wasn't on. I feared the worst.
The internet confirmed the news that Sevilla's number 16 had lost his battle, tragically a month and a half before the birth of his first child. Forget the footballing side for a minute, this is the greater tragedy. Spare a thought for his girlfriend, family, friends, teammates, manager and fans of Sevilla.

Antonio Puerta emerged for me as one of the most promising left backs in the world in Sevilla's UEFA cup winning season of 2005/06, scoring a couple of crucial goals in his teams European run. While Dani Alves was grabbing all the headlines down the right, it's was Puerta's steady and consistent work, both in defence and attack, down the other side, that caught mine and many other eyes, so much so that I thought he should have been at least a part of Spain's world cup squad.

Aragones ignored him, but the kid bounced back. Last season he was again excellent, giving me little choice but to have him in my La Liga team of the season. He finally made his Spain debut as a substitute in their Euro qualifier loss away to Sweden in October. Naturally, this season, he was one of the first players I picked in my La Liga fantasy team.

Antonio Puerta will be sorely missed. The tributes will flood in, and so they should, starting with Saturday morning's UEFA Super Cup clash against AC Milan, a match now dedicated to Puerta. But it will be hard for some to focus on the football at a time like this, and there is talk that Sevilla will also postpone their next La Liga game against Osasuna on Monday to accomodate this morning's postponed Champions League game.
Football hardly seems relevant at a time like this.

Image above courtesy of www.sevillafc.es

2 Comments:

Anonymous sir alex said...

such as shame.
condolences to his family.

Wed. Aug. 29, 10:04:00 am AEST  
Anonymous GG said...

I still miss him. Tragic to see such a fine player's life cut so short.

Fri. Feb. 12, 06:36:00 pm AEDT  

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