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“Fought to the end”: at the age of 43, ex-Zenit footballer Riksen passed away


On September 18, Dutch footballer Fernando Rixen died. The midfielder is known for playing for the Dutch AZ and Fortuna, the Scottish Rangers and the St. Petersburg Zenit, which included won the Russian Championship and the UEFA Cup. In 2013, Ricksen was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In the last years of his life, he was completely paralyzed, and in June lost the opportunity to speak.


On Wednesday morning, after a long illness, the famous footballer Fernando Rixen passed away. In recent years, he lived in Scotland, where at the dawn of his career he played for the local Rangers. According to The Mirror, the Dutchman died in a hospital near Glasgow.

Information about the death of Ricksen was confirmed in the press service of the Rangers, in which he spent the longest period of his career. It is noteworthy that in the 2002/2003 season, Fernando helped the team for the 50th time in history become the Scottish football champion.

The Rangers deeply regret that the former player of the team, Fernando Rixen, died this morning after fighting the ALS, the club’s official Twitter page said in a statement.

The news of Ricksen's death caused deep sadness in the sports community. Their condolences were expressed at the International Football Federation (FIFA), and the Scottish football grandees “Celtic” and “Aberdeen”, the first Dutch clubs “Fortuna” from Sittard and AZ, as well as his former teammates left the corresponding entries on social networks. The teams expressed their condolences to the athlete’s family and friends, as well as gratitude to the player himself for the years of performances.

One of the most important clubs in the Dutchman’s career did not stand aside. St. Petersburg “Zenith” posted a message on the social network, in which he also commented on the tragic event.

“This morning Fernando Rixen was gone. “Zenith” expresses deep condolences to the relatives and friends of the ex-soccer player blue-white-blue, ”the statement said.

The club also reported that they would hold a special rally in honor of the former footballer, and CEO Alexander Medvedev commented on the news of his death.

“Very sad news for us. Fernando continued to fight even in the most hopeless situation. It is enough to recall the last meeting that he organized for his friends. A representative of the fan movement was present from us, the guys from the training camp sent him photos and wishes that he would not give up and fight until the end, ”Medvedev quotes“ The Championship ”.

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Published by zenit_spb (@zenit_spb) Sep 18, 2019 at 3:42 am PDT


The last years of the life of a famous football player were overshadowed by a serious illness. In 2013, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease) - a slowly progressive, incurable degenerative disease of the central nervous system, in which both upper and lower motor neurons are affected. Over time, a person loses the ability to move independently, and the final stage of development is paralysis and muscle atrophy.

At the same time, Fernando fought desperately and showed no signs of despair. He regularly appeared in public and talked with fans. The situation worsened in 2018, when he lost the ability to speak, and subsequently was completely paralyzed.

All this time he was looked after by his wife Veronika, whom the football player married after he was diagnosed with this ailment. The girl admitted that Fernando himself is trying to maintain a positive attitude and even sometimes jokes about his illness.

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Posted by VeronikaRicksen / Veselova (@veronikaricksen) Aug 2, 2019 at 12:43 pm PDT

In turn, the football player, as they could, was supported by fans and his former teammates. So, at the end of June, Zenit players published a photograph in which they were captured with a large banner in honor of the Dutchman. On it was a photograph of him and the caption: "Do not give up, Fernando." Subsequently, fans of his former AZ team also held a support rally at the match of the first round of the Dutch championship.

The attention of the fans was not limited to the limits of football stadiums. Many personally wrote to Veronica and were interested in the health of a famous athlete, and also thanked him for his stamina.

“I have great respect for him because he remains strong even in the most difficult times. I know no one is eternal, but some people will always remember you. We will always keep the spirit of Fernando with us, ”wrote one of the fans.

At the same time, Riksen himself pretty much scared everyone when he announced that on June 28 his "last" meeting with the fans would take place. Many seriously thought that the athlete was preparing to do euthanasia, but his wife dispelled these rumors.

“My phone was cut off about this. And Channel One called, and other media outlets are already tired, frankly, of answering. Fernando is not going to do euthanasia, write it, if possible, in capital, bold letters. And so the heart breaks, and then the headlines are in continuous succession: “I decided to die” ... My husband does not plan to arrange a farewell night! The person will appear in public for the last time, because it’s really hard for him to be surrounded by people who try to touch, hug and photograph him for five to seven hours, ”Match TV quotes Veronica Riksen.

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Publication by VeronikaRicksen / Veselova (@veronikaricksen) Jul 1, 2019 at 1:35 PDT

She also suggested that Ricksen was able to live with his illness for a long time and said that earlier he had more difficult periods.

“In Scotland, doctors have confirmed euthanasia is officially banned. What is there to talk about? Nando on all medical papers will remain in this country until the end of his days; no one will take him out or move him from here. The topic is closed, ”Veronica concluded then.

Ricksen spent the last months of his life in a hospital hospice near Glasgow. As the spouse reported, without special equipment, she can not care for him at home. At the same time, at that time, Fernando could still breathe on his own.

In the hospital, the athlete celebrated his 43rd birthday. The event was attended by relatives and friends, including his wife and daughter Isabella, and as a gift he was presented with a cake in the form of a soccer ball.

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Publication by VeronikaRicksen / Veselova (@veronikaricksen) Jul 26, 2019 at 2:33 pm PDT


Ricksen began his professional career in football in 1994. For four seasons, he defended the colors of Fortune from Sittard. Initially, the team performed in the first division of the Dutch Eredivisia, but subsequently managed to break into the big leagues. This is the merit of the midfielder, who scored five goals in 94 matches.

Then Riksen moved to a more serious club AZ from Alkmaar, in which he improved his performance. For two years, he also held 94 meetings, but distinguished himself already 12 times and earned an invitation to the Scottish Grand Rangers.

It was this period that became one of the brightest in the career of the Dutchman. For six years, he was an integral part of the team, regularly appearing on the field. In his composition, he twice won the championship and the Scottish Cup, and also won the Scottish League Cup three times.

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Publication by VeronikaRicksen / Veselova (@veronikaricksen) Jul 26, 2019 at 4:37 pm PDT

However, domestic fans remember Ricksen for speaking for Zenit. Initially, he moved to St. Petersburg on a rental basis, and the initiator of the transfer was the blue-white-blue mentor Dick Advocaat, who knew the midfielder working together at the Rangers. Six months later, the Russian club designed a full-fledged player transition, and the leadership did not even embarrass the rookie temper of the beginner.

So, Fernando was previously known for his tough conflicts with rivals, but at Zenit he often quarreled with partners. In the fall of 2006, he had a fight with team captain Vladislav Radimov, and in January 2007, a conflict broke out again between the players. True, this did not stop Petersburgers from winning the Russian Championship and Super Cup, as well as the UEFA Cup and Super Cup, over the next year and a half.

Ricksen left the Zenith in 2009. After leaving the coaching bridge of Lawyer, the team was temporarily led by Anatoly Davydov, but he did not have a relationship with the player. As a result, the Dutchman was first sent to the double, and after the contract with him was terminated. As explained in the press service of the team, the reason for this was the repeated violations of discipline. The midfielder returned to his native Fortuna, after which he moved to the Minor amateur team, where he ended his career.

Source: russiart

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