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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

More than a decade missing Puerta

Por Jack Leyva

In the Jose Ramon Cisneros Palacios sporting facilities there is a statue of Antonio Puerta since 2010. It generally has flowers and some messages too, but every August of the last few years, the place has been a space for all the fans to go and pay homage to the player, who died tragically on August 28, 2007.

There, at the base of the monument, they leave offerings to the soccer player who is remembered by his amazing left leg and his commitment to his team. He had joined Sevilla FC as a boy and spent a total of 14 years at the club. On 25 August 2007, Puerta collapsed and lost consciousness in the penalty area due to a cardiac arrest during Sevilla FC's first match of the 2007–08 campaign at homeground Sanchez Pizjuan against Getafe CF. Teammate Ivica Dragutinović (who had arrived to the Sevilla FC two years before to substitute Sergio Ramos) immediately ran to his side as he lost consciousness; moments later, club medical staff and other players followed. The Serbian player had noticed that he was on the ground and there are no doubts that he saved his life at that moment because he avoided Puerta to swallow his own tongue after passing out due to a cardiac arrest.

The final diagnosis indicates that he died because of a hereditary heart disease known as arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia, a very long and strange name for a loss that was hard to assimilate. After recovering Puerta was able to walk, but he collapsed once again in the dressing room. He was resuscitated by the doctors and taken, by ambulance, to the intensive care unit of Virgen del Rocio hospital, where he received cardiopulmonary resuscitation. That image of him walking to the dressing room is the memory that remains in everybody’s mind. Undoubtedly, that most be the his most famous image, along with the T-shirt worn by Sergio Ramos when Spain won UEFA Euro 2008, an event he should have attended.

The Real Madrid’s actual captain, who was a very good friend of Puerta and his teammate in Sevilla FC, has always remembered the anniversary of his death in the most heartfelt way. In the social networks, Ramos has expressed the enormous void that he feels after the death of Puerta and he assures that the player should have won that fight. Year by year, the social networks are full with messages, proof of the impact he had on the Spanish people. The truth is that after more than a decade, the pain by the decease of the young and athletic player is something that feels like it happened only yesterday.