Ibrox Stadium

Next Game

Rangers v Ayr United

Tuesday, 22 April 2014, 19:45

Scots One

Last Game

Stenh'muir 0 - 4 Rangers

Saturday, 19 April 2014, 15:00

Scots One

Ricksen diagnosed with MND

Former Rangers captain Fernando Ricksen has been diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

Last Updated: 31/10/13 at 17:45 Post Comment

Ricksen with Zenit St Petersburg in 2008

Ricksen with Zenit St Petersburg in 2008

Ricksen revealed on a live Dutch television programme on Wednesday night that he had the rare life-threatening condition.

The 37-year-old broke down in tears when he was asked by the presenter why he was talking so slowly.

Ricksen, struggling to control his emotions, asked the author of his book to explain that he had been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, which is also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

ALS is the most common of the five motor neurone diseases with a life expectancy of less than five years for about half of those diagnosed with the condition.

It is a debilitating disease, characterised by rapidly progressive weakness, and muscle atrophy that leads to difficulty in speaking, swallowing and breathing.

Holding back the tears, Ricksen, who played for Rangers from 2000 to 2006, said: "The medical people have said my condition could worsen quickly. I do not know anymore."

Gers shocked

Rangers manager Ally McCoist was shocked by the news and offered Ricksen all of the club's support.

"This is truly devasting news and the thoughts of everyone associated with Rangers Football Club are with Fernando," McCoist said on the club's website.

"We will of course support Fernando and his family in any way we can and there is no doubt football is put into perspective when you hear news like this.

"I have seen images of Fernando in today's media and my heart goes out to him and his family. I cannot begain to imagine what he is going through at the moment.

"He enjoyed a fantastic career at Rangers, notably captaining Rangers to the title in 2005 at Easter Road, and I know our fans will also show their support for him."

Advocaat message

Ricksen began his career with Fortuna Sittard before moving on to AZ Alkmaar, and it was Dick Advocaat who brought him to Ibrox in 2000 for £3.75million.

The right-back was twice in trouble with the law during his spell in Glasgow for drink-related offences, but Advocaat trusted the player and signed him again for Zenit St Petersburg in 2006.

Advocaat is currently back at AZ for a second spell as manager, and told the club's website: "I always enjoyed working with Fernando. Of course, the stories about his escapades are known by many, but under me he was always a decent professional, and respectful.

"I have worked in a good and successful way with him at Rangers, Zenit and the Dutch national team. With Zenit, we won the Russian title and the UEFA Cup.

"It's terrible news Fernando is suffering ALS. It has deeply touched me. Also here at AZ, it touched people. He had three successful years here in Alkmaar.

"The club has good memories of him. I want to wish Fernando and his family and friends a lot of strength the coming period. Hopefully his winning spirit will give him the best."

Rangers' city rivals Celtic also issued a statement to express their sympathy.

The Hoops said: "The thoughts of everyone at Celtic are with Fernando Ricksen and his family following the news that he has been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease.

"Everyone at Celtic passes on our best wishes to Fernando at this very difficult time."

FIFA president Sepp Blatter was another to tweet, and posted: "Sending Fernando Ricksen strength today after his diagnosis with #ALS. I know about #MND through (former Italy striker) Stefano Borgonovo. Keep fighting Fernando."

Celtic legend Jimmy Johnstone died in 2006 after a five-year battle with MND aged 61.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Related News

Sky Bet

    • Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

Mike_Christie
Please Stop Telling Us What To Think

H

ooray! We are all excited now, we beat a very mediocre team! With all due respect to WHU supporters, not winning that game shouldn't even be a consideration. This is the problem, there is no winning mentality at the Emirates - we're all congratulating ourselves beating a team that we have a winning record against.

TheWhiz
Wenger hails important win

I

s this meant to be an aspiration for United supporters? Moyes mediocrity strikes again. I see the Bayern boys don't want to sign for him, and his reputation amongst the senior European coaches make other key signings unlikely.

redbornandbred
De Gea's Europa League target

Footer 365

Premier League: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger pleased with display in 3-0 win at Hull

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was pleased with his side's performance as they eased to a 3-0 win over Hull City.

Premier League: Liverpool's Raheem Sterling best young player in Europe says Brendan Rodgers

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has described Raheem Sterling as the best young player in Europe.

Premier League: Liverpool's Luis Suarez focused on Chelsea match after win over Norwich

Luis Suarez insisted he is not getting carried away with Liverpool's chances of winning the Premier League.

Mail Box

That's Why We Didn't Want Jose At United

There is plenty of reaction to Mourinho's antics (Isn't that exactly what he wanted?) plus thoughts on Connor Wickham, Fabio Borini, beach balls and Tim Sherwood...

Kieran's Not The Only One Keeping Notes

Another chap in the mailbox has been keeping notes on comments made by optimistic Man United fans. Plus, Garey Vance is offering a double-or-quits on his new tattoo...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property