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Christian Eriksen 'tempted by Ajax return to continue career with a heart defibrillator'

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Christian Eriksen is tempted by a return to Ajax where he could continue his career with a heart defibrillator fitted, according to a report in Italy. 

The 29-year-old was fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) after suffering a cardiac arrest while playing for Denmark against Finland at Euro 2020 in June, to regulate any further changes in his heartbeat.   

The Dane has not played since collapsing during the game and is looking for the chance to return to the pitch but will not be able to do so in Italy. 

Serie A rules prevent players from playing in competitive games with a defibrillator, meaning an Inter exit is almost certain.  

But Eriksen could be handed the chance to return to action by his former club Ajax. 

Italy bans players at both amateur and professional level from competing if they have any significant heart abnormalities, and Francesco Braconaro, a member of the Italian FA’s technical scientific committee, revealed the Dane must have it removed to play in Italian football again, as it will show he has no further heart problems. 

However, other top-flight leagues, including the Eredivisie, do not have the same restrictions and Eriksen will have to make the move to another European division if he is to continue playing with an ICD.    

Christian Eriksen is tempted by a return to Ajax to continue his career after being told he cannot play in Serie A at Inter Milan with a heart defibrillator fitted

Christian Eriksen is tempted by a return to Ajax to continue his career after being told he cannot play in Serie A at Inter Milan with a heart defibrillator fitted

The Danish midfielder could continue playing with an ICD in the Eredivisie at his former club

The Danish midfielder could continue playing with an ICD in the Eredivisie at his former club

He has not played since he suffered a cardiac arrest during Denmark's first Euro 2020 game

He has not played since he suffered a cardiac arrest during Denmark’s first Euro 2020 game

According to Il Corriere dello Sport, a move to Ajax is on the table for Eriksen and Inter will make a decision on the Dane’s future together with the player and his team, who are said to be on good terms with the club. 

The Serie A side reportedly do not expect to sell Eriksen for a fee and will terminate his contract but the club will be able to shift his €7.5million-a-year salary (£6.4m).

Ajax defender Daley Blind was also fitted with an ICD after being diagnosed with heart muscle inflammation, but has continued playing for the Eredivisie champions, as well as internationally for Holland. 

The midfielder joined Ajax's Under-19s in 2009 before moving up to the first-team in 2010

The midfielder joined Ajax’s Under-19s in 2009 before moving up to the first-team in 2010

The Dane played alongside Ajax defender Daley Blind (left), who also has an ICD fitted

The Dane played alongside Ajax defender Daley Blind (left), who also has an ICD fitted

Eriksen has played 60 times for Inter Milan since joining the club from Tottenham Hotspur 18 months ago and helped the Italian side win their first Serie A title in 11 years last season. 

His contract at Inter runs until the summer of 2024 but the Danish midfielder will most likely have to leave the club before then.

Eriksen collapsed suddenly during the Euro group-stage game with no one near him. He received immediate CPR treatment from medical staff and was then taken to hospital. 

He was released from hospital six days later after being fitted with an ICD.

The 29-year-old helped the Italian side win their first Serie A title in 11 years last season

The 29-year-old helped the Italian side win their first Serie A title in 11 years last season

His team-mates

His team-mates surrounded him to give him privacy as he received CPR treatment   

Eriksen now has a implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) to control his heart rhythm

Eriksen now has a implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) to control his heart rhythm

As reported by goal, following the events an Inter statement read: ‘With reference to the registration rights of Eriksen, it should be noted that following a serious injury occurred during the European Championships in June 2021, (he) was temporarily inhibited by the Italian medical authority from sporting activity for the current season.

‘Although the current conditions of the player are not such as to allow the achievement of sporting fitness in Italy, the same could instead be achieved in other countries where therefore the player could resume competitive activity.’   

The Premier League, where Eriksen played for seven years with Tottenham, could also be an option. 

Eriksen met up with the Inter team in August but will have to leave the club to continue playing

Eriksen met up with the Inter team in August but will have to leave the club to continue playing

‘With regard to Christian Eriksen playing in England, it is impossible to comment on his individual circumstances without knowledge of his condition and the risks associated with it. As always, any assessment would be on an individual basis,’ an FA spokesperson told the PA news agency.

‘In England, any player that has an abnormal cardiac screen or who develops a cardiac problem would be assessed by a sports cardiologist.

‘We would expect the sports cardiologist to be a member of The FA Cardiac Consensus Panel, a group of experienced sports cardiologists who advise The FA with regard to these issues and provide consultation and screening expertise for our cardiac screening programmes in professional football.

‘This would also be done in association with the team doctor who usually looks after them. The cardiologist would look at the individual circumstances and the risk surrounding the player and they would make a decision on whether the player could continue to play or should stop.’

Eriksen scored against his current team Inter during his seven years at Tottenham Hotspur

Eriksen scored against his current team Inter during his seven years at Tottenham Hotspur

The FA oversees around 1,500 cardiac screens in professional football per year and any advice offered based on the results is made with the player’s ‘own personal safety’ in mind.

While no player has been banned based on a cardiac screen, any participant would be made aware of the risks they are taking should they continue to play. 

Four months on from Eriksen’s collapse, Barcelona striker Sergio Aguero was ruled out for three months with heart arrhythmia this week after being forced off during his home debut with chest pains.

The 33-year-old spent Sunday and Monday in hospital in Barcelona as extensive cardiac tests were carried out. 

The striker was suffering with chest pains during his first start at the Nou Camp for Barcelona

The striker was suffering with chest pains during his first start at the Nou Camp for Barcelona

Footballers with defibrillators

Anthony van Loo, Roeselare: The Belgian defender was allowed to continue his career after being fitted with a defibrillator. It shocked his heart back into a normal rhythm after suffering cardiac arrhythmia during a match. He retired in 2018, aged 30, as he felt he could not return to his old performance levels. 

Fabrice Muamba, Bolton: Former Arsenal midfielder Muamba’s heart stopped for 78 minutes but eventually made a recovery.

He retired five months later without having returned to football. He did however play 15 minutes in Ian Goodison’s testimonial match 

Daniel Engelbrecht, Stuttgarter Kickers: The striker collapsed on the pitch against Erfurt but returned to the professional game aged 24 after 17 months, against numerous doctors’ advice. 

He scored against Wehen Wiesbaden, becoming the first footballer to score with a defibrillator. However, he retired in 2018 to move into coaching when he found out the device had brought him back to life three times. 

Daley Blind, Ajax and Holland: Blind was fitted with a pacemaker after complaining of dizziness in a Champions League match against Valencia in December 2019.

He subsequently collapsed in a friendly against Hertha Berlin in August 2020 but has generally enjoyed a safe return to top-level football. 

Christian Eriksen, Inter Milan and Denmark: Eriksen collapsed on the pitch at Euro 2020 earlier this summer. Although he has recovered, strict Serie A rules mean he cannot play in Italy and current club Inter Milan must sell him.

He may choose to continue his professional career elsewhere, or retire. 



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