As we reported yesterday, Sevilla midfielder Antonio Puerta collapsed during a Primera Liga match on Saturday. Today brought the sad news that Puerta has died, just three days later. He had suffered a heart attack and had been on life support since Saturday. What makes this even sadder is that Puerta was going to become a father for the first time in about six weeks’ time.
According to CNN, a spokesman for Virgen del Rocio hospital stated that “We regret to report that the patient Antonio Puerta died at 1430 (1230 GMT) today. The death was caused by postanoxic encephalopathy and a multiple failure of his organs caused by the prolonged cardiac arrest that provoked his admission to hospital.” The spokesman said that Puerta had also suffered irregular palpitations or arrhythmia in the right side of his heart.
Sevilla’s Champions League third qualifying round second leg against AEK Athens was postponed but Friday’s European Super Cup match against AC Milan could still go ahead. Uefa’s William Gaillard was quoted as saying: “Friday’s game goes ahead at the moment but we will transform the game into a tribute to Antonio Puerta. Of course, we will respect the Sevilla players if they feel they do not want to play, but we hope that this can be a dedication to their former team-mate.”
Puerta was a product of Sevilla’s acclaimed youth system, breaking into the side in the 2004-5 season before becoming a regular the following year as a versatile left sided player who could play as a wing back or midfielder.He became a hero to Sevilla fans for the spectacular goal he scored against Schalke 04 that secured their place in the UEFA Cup final for the first time in April 2006.
Puerta made his debut for Spain in October last year, in a 2-0 loss to Sweden in a Euro 2008 qualifier. Although he only had one cap he was considered one of the players for the future for Spain and had caught the eye of a number of Europe’s top clubs.
Our condolences go out to the family, friends and teammates of Antonio Puerta as well as the staff and fans of Sevilla.