Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Antonio Puerta

[EDITED: I've taken down the YouTube footage of Puerta. It can be found in lots of other places, and frankly, I think he should be remembered for his skills]

Everyone who witnessed Sevilla midfielder Antonio Puerta inexplicably collapse in the 28th minute of the first half in the match against Getafe last Saturday was bewildered by the incident at first. Standing near his own goal just as the keeper was preparing to kick the ball back to the Sevilla midfield, Puerta suddenly crouched down and then appeared to go into a seizure. His fellow teammates tried to keep the 22-year old player from choking on his tongue and eventually team medics got Puerta back on his feet and into the locker room. The game went on.

Subsequent news reports stated that Puerta, who was born in Sevilla and had played his entire career with the club, had suffered a heart attack. In the dressing room, Puerta's heart gave out yet again and he went into unconsciousness. He was whisked to the hospital where he was reportedly stable though in intensive care. But his body was unable to withstand the damage that had wracked it and unfortunately the player died this morning in Spain.

Puerta, a crafty left-footer, was a major contributor (he scored the winning goal) in a 2006 UEFA Cup semi-final match against Schalke... which eventually led the Andalusians into the final against Middlesbrough who they beat 4-0. Puerta also helped his team win last season's UEFA Cup final against Espanyol when the match dragged on into penalty kicks. Puerta also played once for the Spanish national team in October 2006.

Sevilla, who were supposed to play today in a second leg Champions League qualifier against AEK Athens, didn't. The game has been postponed until next Monday. The team's European Super Cup match this Friday against AC Milan will supposedly still be played and the game will be aired in the US via Fox Soccer Channel. The match will be played in honor of the fallen player.

All of us at apm join the rest of the football universe in offering up our deepest condolences to Puerta's loved ones, his team, and the supporters who cared. You can read more about Antonio Puerta here and here.


sportsnob said...

That is such a depressing clip. Really gifted player and a big loss to the game.

Derek said...

I debated about whether or not to put the clip on the site, but for the time being have kept it up. It's a difficult dilemma, I think, because you want people to know about his skills as a player and about what he meant to fans of Sevilla... not just as the guy who had a heart attack on the pitch.

It's a tragic loss all around....