Morocco players dedicate famous World Cup win over Spain to former Ajax starlet Abdelhak Nouri, who suffered brain damage after collapsing from a cardiac arrest during a pre-season friendly
- Morocco players paid an emotional tribute to Nouri after their win over Spain
- The players were photographed with a shirt with his name and number 34
- Nouri, who is of Moroccan descent, suffered a cardiac arrest in 2017
Morocco players paid an emotional tribute to Abdelhak Nouri after their famous win over Spain at the World Cup.
After beating Spain 3-0 in a penalty shootout, the Moroccan players were photographed with a shirt with the former Ajax player’s name and the number 34.
Nouri, who is of Moroccan descent, suffered a cardiac arrest in a pre-season match for Ajax against Werder Bremen in Austria in 2017.
Morocco players paid an emotional tribute to Abdelhak Nouri after their famous win over Spain
The 20-year-old was placed in a coma and Ajax revealed five days after the match that the Dutchman had suffered ‘severe and permanent’ brain damage.
Former Ajax team-mate Justin Kluivert described the on-pitch collapse as ‘the worst moment of my life’.
Kluivert, who is currently on loan at RB Leipzig from Roma, was on the pitch with Nouri on that fateful day.
Abdelhak Nouri had a cardiac arrhythmia attack in a friendly against Werder Bremen in 2017
The attacking midfielder cannot play football again after suffering significant brain damage
‘That was the worst moment of my life,’ Kluivert told Goal.com. ‘I was just in shock, I couldn’t believe it.
‘One second you’re standing with him on the pitch and making jokes and the next second everything is different. It happened so incredibly quickly.
‘I wanted to be alone [afterwards]. I am a person who deals with such emotional events by myself. I thought a lot, kept reminding myself of the many wonderful moments we shared with him.
Justin Kluivert adopted Nouri’s No 34 shirt at Roma and paid tribute to him after a goal in 2018
‘I have learned all over again in a new way that you have to value life because it can change from one moment to the next.’
Nouri came out of his coma in August 2018 and regained the ability to communicate with his family by moving his mouth and eyebrows, but it was only in March last year that he returned home with his family, who are caring for him.
Ajax paid tribute to Nouri by naming their Talent of the Future award after him and dedicated their 34th Eredivisie title to him – Nouri was No 34 – after the team won the title in 2019.
A number of Nouri’s former team-mates, including Manchester United midfielder Donny van de Beek and Brighton right back Joel Veltman, have also adopted Nouri’s shirt number, while Kluivert was Roma’s No 34 after moving there from Ajax in 2018.
Donny van de Beek is another of Nouri’s former team-mates who wears No 34 in his honour
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