Wednesday, 27 August 2014
Manuel Almunia Bids Goodbye To Football After Being Diagnosed With Heart Problem
He was Arsenal’s Spanish goalkeeper and he almost ended up in goal for England, now Manuel Almunia has been forced to quit the game because of a heart problem.
The 37-year-old was hoping to prolong his career at Serie A side Cagliari but a cardiac problem was discovered during a club medical and confirmed after further tests at Padua.
Cagliari president Tommaso Giulini, speaking to the Italian press, said on Almunia: 'It was picked up in the first visits to Cagliari and confirmed after further tests in Padua (specialist heart hopsital).'
The former Arsenal keeper who also played for West Ham and Watford is understood to have been diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy a disease of the heart tissue that causes it to thicken and sometimes cause Sudden Cardiac Death in sportsmen.
The sudden death of fit young athletes has stunned the sporting world many times in recent years with Sevilla’s Antonio Puerta, Hungarian striker Miklos Feher, Cameroon international Marc-Vivien Foe, Espanyol captain Dani Jarque and Motherwell captain Phil O’Donnell among the high-profile victims.
Clubs now screen for the condition and have defibrillator at grounds, such as the one that helped saved the life of Fabrice Muamba when he collapsed in a game between Bolton and Tottenham in 2012.
Almunia will now retire from the game after a 20-year career that peaked at Arsenal. Arsene Wenger signed him in 2004 as back-up for Jens Lehman who he replaced in the 2006 Champions League final after the German was sent off against Barcelona.
In the 2007-08 season he became first choice and as England struggled for goalkeeping options Fabio Capello said he would consider him after Almunia went public on his desire to play international football for England or Spain.