‘I want to understand what happened to me’: Christian Eriksen speaks publicly for the first time and vows to ‘never give up’ – as team-mates admit they feared he had died on the pitch
- Christian Eriksen has thanked fans in a short statement released by his agent
- The Denmark midfielder collapsed during their Euro 2020 game with Finland
- Eriksen has vowed to never give up but wants to understand what happened
- Team-mate Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg said Eriksen’s ‘eyes were white’ on the pitch
- The 29-year-old has been joined by his family at his hospital bedside
- Find out the latest Euro 2020 news including fixtures, live action and results here.
Christian Eriksen has released his first public statement since suffering a cardiac arrest during Denmark’s Euro 2020 game with Finland, insisting he ‘feels better’ and ‘won’t give up’.
The former Tottenham midfielder, who now plays for Inter Milan, required 13 minutes of CPR after collapsing just before half-time but was taken to hospital in a stable condition, where he remains.
Eriksen thanked fans for their support and concern, and vowed to get to the bottom of why he experienced such a sudden and serious health emergency in a short statement released to Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport via his agent.
The 29-year-old’s statement was released on the morning that his team-mates spoke for the first time since the shocking incident in Copenhagen on Saturday.
Tottenham’s Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg said his midfield colleague’s ‘eyes were white’ on the pitch while Barcleona’s Martin Braithwaite added: ‘We were about to lose a friend and a team-mate’.
Eriksen’s statement this morning read: ‘Thank you, I won’t give up. I feel better now – but I want to understand what’s happened.
‘I want to say thank you all for what you did for me.’
Christian Eriksen says has released his first public statement since suffering a cardiac arrest during Denmark’s Euro 2020 game with Finland
Eriksen collapsed just before half-time and needed urgent CPR for around 13 minutes
The former Tottenham midfielder, who now plays for Inter Milan, was taken to hospital in a stable condition, where he remains
The 29-year-old Inter Milan star has been joined by his wife family at his hospital bedside
A heart attack and a cardiac arrest are not the same thing
A cardiac arrest is when a person’s heart stops pumping blood around their body and they stop breathing normally
A heart attack is when one of the coronary arteries becomes blocked. The heart muscle is robbed of its vital blood supply and, if left untreated, will begin to die because it is not getting enough oxygen
Many cardiac arrests in adults happen because of a heart attack. This is because a person who is having a heart attack may develop a dangerous heart rhythm, which can cause a cardiac arrest
Source: British Heart Foundation
Eriksen has been in contact with both his Danish and Inter Milan team-mates on FaceTime calls and has been said to be joking: ‘I think you’re feeling worse than I am!’
The former Spurs midfielder also suggested he would be ‘ready to train’ now, just two days on from his collapse.
Eriksen remains in hospital in Copenhagen with his wife Sabrina and parents, father Thomas and mother Dorthe at his bedside.
Captain Simon Kjaer and goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel have visited their team-mate in hospital.
‘Now he just has to rest, with him are his wife and parents,’ Eriksen’s agent said.
‘He will remain under observation. But in any case he wants to cheer on his team-mates against Belgium.’
Hojbjerg, Braithwaite and Leicester City goalkeeper Schmeichel all spoke on Monday morning at a press conference – the first time any of Eriksen’s Denmark team-mates have appeared publicly since Saturday’s game.
Schmeichel said: ‘I have chosen to say to myself that this has had a happy ending – it’s not the end yet, but it could have been so much worse.
‘I am grateful to be part of a team that has stood together as much as we have done. And I’m grateful Christian’s still here.
‘I tried to imagine if it was me who was lying there. I knew Christian’s wife, children, and parents were there, so at one point I tried to look for them. It is an inhuman situation for them to go through.’
Braithwaite added: ‘We were all about to lose a friend and a team-mate.
‘I saw Christian lying there and looking towards the field. His eyes were white and I thought it looked very strange. I saw Simon Kjaer rush off, and then you start thinking what it is. I walked slowly across the bench.
More and more first aiders came over, and I could see Simon waving his arms. I stood for a long time with the coaches and talked, and I could see that there are some arms that move with the first aid. That was creepy.’
Denmark’s Martin Braithwaite and Kasper Schmeichel spoke at a press conference on Monday
Schmeichel, Braithwaite and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg all spoke emotionally on their team-mate
In a video call from Eriksen to the team Denmark boss Kasper Hjulmand said the 29-year-old Inter Milan midfielder reassured the group that he was ‘more concerned’ about them.
Hjulmand said: ‘Christian was concerned about us and his family. He said, “I don’t remember much, I’m more concerned about how you guys are doing. I think you are feeling worse than I am. I feel as if I’m about to go training now, boys”.
‘That’s typical Christian. He’s a hell of a player, but what a person he is as well.
‘He would like us to play. It was good to see him smile and we will try to get ourselves together and play for Christian.
‘We will try to establish normality as much as possible. Maybe, for some, the time is too short to play football again, but maybe we can use it as a force to get together.’
Denmark’s team doctor Morten Boesen confirmed on Sunday: ‘He was gone.
‘We did cardiac resuscitation, it was cardiac arrest. How close were we? I don’t know. We got him back after one defib so that’s quite fast. We don’t have an explanation why it happened.’
Eriksen was taken away by medics after regaining consciousness on the pitch
Denmark players encircled Eriksen while he was being treated by the medics in Copenhagen
Eriksen’s distraught team-mates formed a protective ring around the stricken player as he received treatment and have been given counselling to help them cope with the ordeal.
Peter Schmeichel, the father of Denmark goalkeeper Kasper, branded UEFA’s decision to make them complete the game later in the day as ‘absolutely ridiculous’ after Finland eventually won the Group B tie 1-0.
Hjulmand agreed that it was unfair to make his players choose between restarting it on Saturday night or at noon on Sunday.
‘It’s very difficult but, looking back, I think it was the wrong thing to make the decision between the two scenarios,’ said Hjulmand.
‘Players who were in a shock condition, players who didn’t really know yet if they had lost their best friend and they had to decide between these two things. Maybe we should just have got on the bus and gone home.
‘It was a tough message that the players had to make a decision. I had a sense it was wrong that they were given this situation.’
Simon Kjaer and Kasper Schmeichel consoled Eriksen’s wife and reassured her on the sideline
Peter Schmeichel criticised UEFA’s decision to get Denmark and Finland to finish the game
Denmark must now prepare for their second game of the Euros against Belgium at the same venue on Thursday, although Hjulmand said that speaking to Eriksen via videolink had helped his players.
Eriksen’s collapse in what was his 66th game in a year since football restarted after the pandemic came hours after players’ union FIFPro expressed their concerns over the physical toll of playing too much football.
In a statement on Twitter on Sunday, the Danish FA said: ‘Latest news: this morning we have spoken to Christian Eriksen, who has sent his greetings to his team-mates.
‘His condition is stable and he continues to be hospitalised for further examination. The team and staff of the national team have received crisis assistance and will continue to be there for each other after this incident.
‘We would like to thank everyone for the heartfelt greetings to Christian Eriksen from fans, players, the royal families from both Denmark and England, international associations, clubs.’
Finland captain Tim Sparv, speaking exclusively to MailOnline, paid tribute to English referee Anthony Taylor: ‘The way the referee handled the whole situation was very good.
‘For me, he was a key person during this event. I felt he was a very calm character. I felt he was fantastic, the way he dealt with it. A big credit to him and his colleagues.’
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