Fabrice Muamba retires from football

The 23-year-old has been forced into ending his career early after advice from doctors regarding his health, but remained thankful for all the support he has received
Bolton Wanderers have announced that Fabrice Muamba has retired from football.

The 23-year-old suffered a cardiac arrest after collapsing on the pitch during Bolton's FA Cup sixth-round match with Tottenham last season. Medics rushed onto the pitch to try and resuscitate the midfielder, who was later rushed to hospital.

The former Arsenal, Birmingham and Bolton man had been hopeful of returning to professional football after making encouraging early signs of recovery, but after being advised by doctors to give up the game he has decided to confirm his retirement.

In a statement on the club's official website he said: "Since suffering my heart attack and being discharged from hospital, I have remained utterly positive in the belief I could one day resume my playing career and play for Bolton Wanderers once again.

"As part of my on-going recovery, last week I travelled to Belgium to seek further medical advice from a leading cardiologist.

"But the news I received was obviously not what I had hoped it would be and it means I am now announcing my retirement from professional football.

"Football has been my life since I was a teenage boy and it has given me so many opportunities.

"Above all else, I love the game and count myself very lucky to have been able to play at the highest level.

"While the news is devastating, I have much to be thankful for.
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"I thank God that I am alive and I pay tribute once again to the members of the medical team who never gave up on me.

"I would also like to thank everyone who has supported me throughout my career, and the Bolton fans who have been incredible.

"I am blessed to have the support of my family and friends at this time."

Bolton's chairman Phil Gartside paid tribute to Muamba, adding: "To have Fabrice here and with us is truly amazing and we are all very thankful for that.

"We are all hugely disappointed that Fabrice will be unable to return to his playing career but we have to be guided by the medical recommendations and the best interests of Fabrice.

"The most important thing is that Fabrice and his family have the rest of their lives ahead of them."

The club's manager, Owen Coyle, also showed his support for his former player, saying: "We have spoken with Fab and he knows we will always support him in whatever he wants to do and that we will always be here for him.

"He is obviously massively disappointed that he won't be able to carry on his career, but everyone has seen what a fighter and strong person he is in mind and body.

"We know that he will go on to achieve great things and within all this disappointment, the most important thing is that he is here, alive, today."