Ajax midfielder Abdelhak Nouri has suffered “serious and permanent brain damage” after collapsing during a pre-season friendly on Saturday, the Eredivisie club have announced.
The 20-year-old Dutchman required emergency ambulance treatment on the field during a meeting with Werder Bremen in Zillertal, Austria and he was subsequently airlifted to hospital.
Ajax, who earlier in the week revealed Nouri had experienced heart arrhythmia, tweeted on Thursday that he had been “diagnosed with serious and permanent brain damage.”
A further tweet said: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his loved ones in this difficult time.”
Nouri — known as ‘Appie’ — made 15 appearances for Ajax’s first team last season, including three in the Europa League, and scored on his senior debut in a 5-0 win over Willem II in the KNVB-Beker.
On Monday Ajax revealed Nouri’s heart was functioning normally and appeared to be undamaged, adding that it was “too soon to say anything about his recovery, as his brain function cannot be tested properly as long as he is kept asleep.”
It was then confirmed that he would be released from an artificial coma.
The capital club’s opponents on Saturday, Bundesliga side Bremen, were among the first to convey their support, tweeting: “Our prayers are with him #StayStrongAppie”.
A series of Eredivisie outfits and even Premier League club Bournemouth also expressed support. The official Cherries account tweeted: “Our thoughts and prayers are with him. #StayStrongAppie”.
Ajax chief executive Edwin van der Sar, their former goalkeeper, told the club website: “This is the worst possible news. It’s terrible.
“We feel enormously for his parents, siblings and other relatives.
“The blow is also hard for Ajax, although we knew we might have to consider this scenario.
“These have been uncertain days, and lots of people in different way have sympathised with his situation. That is greatly appreciated.
“Abdelhak has such great talent, but unfortunately we will never know how far his star would have reached if this had not happened to him.”