Abdelhak Nouri was a young man destined for greatness. A footballer who wowed crowds with his technical ability on the ball and incredible passing range, for years he has been the crown jewel of the vaunted Ajax academy. An Amsterdammer through and through, he was supposed to be something special; a once-in-a-generation talent. And now that light has been put out.
This morning, Ajax announced that the 20-year-old suffered severe and permanent brain damage after collapsing during a friendly match against Austria Wien last week. He had to be revived on the pitch and airlifted to hospital. It was later announced that his collapse was due to cardiac arrhythmia, more commonly known as an irregular heartbeat.
Nouri had been kept in a medically-induced coma over the weekend to monitor his heart. After collapsing his heart stopped beating and he was clinically dead for a number of minutes. Because of this, oxygen failed to reach his brain, causing irreversible and serious damage.
Ajax legend and Head of Football Operations Edwin Van Der Saar stated on the team website: “This is the worst possible news. It’s terrible. We feel enormously for his parents, siblings and other relatives.” Since the news broke, some of Holland’s biggest footballers have reached out on twitter to support Nouri and his family.
Nouri has been playing with Ajax his entire career and has been one of Jong Ajax’s best players for some time. He made his debut for the senior team last season, scoring a free kick. He was also a stalwart of the Netherlands’ youth sides and would most likely have received his first cap for the senior squad in the coming years.
With incredible vision and the departure of Davy Klaassen to Everton, Nouri was pegged to be the new starting number ten at Ajax next season.