Cristiano Ronaldo welcomes Fernando Ricksen to the Bernabeu

Fernando Ricksen met Cristiano Ronaldo on Tuesday night after receiving a personal invitation to the Santiago Bernabeu from the Real Madrid star.

Former Rangers and Holland player Ricksen – who is currently battling motor neurone disease – was the guest of honour for Real Madrid’s Champions League match against Legia Warsaw.

The 40-year-old watched Madrid’s 5-1 win from Ronaldo’s box and was later presented with the shirt he wore during the match.

Cristiano Ronaldo poses for a picture with Fernando Ricksen and his family after the match

Ronaldo presents Ricksen with the shirt he wore during the Champions League victory


1994-1997 – Fortuna Sittard – 94 apps, 5 gls

1997-2000 – AZ – 92 apps, 12 gls

2000-2006 – Rangers – 182 apps, 13 gls

2006 – Zenit (loan) – 14 apps, 2 gls

2007-2009 – Zenit – 22 apps, 0 gls

2010-2013 – Fortuna Sittard – 48 apps, 1 gls


2000-2003 – Holland – 12 apps, 0 gls

Ricksen was accompanied by wife Veronika and daughter Isabella. Veronica tweeted: ‘Isabella dream comes true.’

Ricksen is a former captain of Rangers, spending six years in Glasgow, helping the club win seven trophies, including two league titles.

He revealed he was terminally ill in October 2013 during an appearance on a television show in Holland.

More than 40,000 people turned out for his charity match at Ibrox in January 2015, which featured players including Teddy Sheringham, Rino Gattuso and Ronald de Boer.

In an interview in the commemorative programme, Ricksen said: ”Even the fact that MND patients don’t have more than three years to live doesn’t get me down.

‘Scared? No, because what’s going to happen is inevitable. OK, maybe I have only a couple of years left. That doesn’t scare me, it’s just that I would love to live a lot longer. I want to see my daughter growing up. That’s what I’ll fight for.

Ricksen looks on as Ronaldo meets his wife Veronika and daughter Isabella

They are joined by Real Madrid officials, including president Florentino Perez (left)

‘One person should be the first to defeat this terrible disease. Well, let me be that person then! I will show the world what fighting spirit means.

‘But if death comes, well, it comes. What can you do about it? I’ve always been like that. Never been afraid of flying either, unlike most of my Russian team-mates (from his time with Dick Advocaat at Zenit St Petersburg).

‘I always told them: ‘If we go down, we go down’. Which was quite likely with those Russian aircraft, by the way!

‘I don’t want to feel too much sympathy. I am not pitiful. Please don’t treat me that way. It will be tough but I’ll keep my head up.

‘It was a shock (when I got the diagnosis). Especially after I had Googled what the illness exactly means. All of a sudden, you know you may be dead within a year.

Ricksen brings down Henrik Larsson during an Old Firm match between Rangers and Celtic

Ricksen chases down England’s Emile Heskey during a friendly match in Amsterdam in 2002

‘I still hope the doctors have made a mistake. That, one day, they will say it isn’t MND. As long as I don’t have the really heavy symptoms of MND, it’s a straw I keep grasping at.

‘I know it sounds strange but being chased by the Grim Reaper doesn’t affect your life that much. Not when your motto is: ‘Don’t look back’.

‘We avoid pessimism and depression by not talking and thinking too much about the disease. That’s one of the reasons why we don’t shoot an enormous amount of footage of our life as it is today.

‘For my daughter, Isabella, that would put too much emphasis on the illness.’


Source link – Post in Catelogy Champions League M88

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