Hamburg defender Rick van Drongelen has looked back on his relationship with Abdelhak Nouri, who was his Netherlands U21 teammate before suffering permanent brain damage in the summer.

  • By Michael Bell
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Nouri collapsed on the pitch during Ajax’s friendly with Werder Bremen in the summer and has been left with permanent brain damage, which has ended his blossoming career.

Van Drongelen regularly played with Nouri through Netherlands youth teams and the 18-year-old told Die Welt, “In the summer a good friend of mine, Abdelhak Nouri, collapsed during a practice match of Ajax against Werder Bremen: cardiac arrest, he survived, but can not speak or move to this day.

“I played with him at the national teams, he was our captain and probably the greatest talent of Dutch football, a small, agile player, who always had an overview, he did things with a ball that I had never seen before. He always said: Rick, play me in, even if I have an opponent on my back, he was right in. I could always trust him, his accident was a big shock.

“His football career is definitely over, he has permanent brain damage and will always rely on the help of others It is a tragedy. He has never gone to parties and has done everything to make his dream come true. He has lived for football.

“Everything can be over so quickly, so I say to myself: “you have to enjoy every moment”

“I still look at images of Abdelhak on a regular basis, it makes me sad and melancholy at the same time. He can not live his dream any longer. I am infinitely grateful. “

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