Blatter: Muamba recovery a miracle

The Fifa president has revealed his disbelief at the quick turnaround of the Bolton midfielder after his heart stopped beating for 78 minutes following his collapse

Fifa president Sepp Blatter has hailed Fabrice Muamba's recovery following a cardiac arrest as a "miracle".

The 23-year-old's heart stopped beating for 78 minutes after he collapsed during Bolton's clash with Tottenham in the FA Cup sixth round.

The Congo-born midfielder remains in intensive care but has regained consciousness and has been talking to visiting friends and family.

Blatter told reporters: "It's a miracle. When I saw it on the television, it was terrible.

"I had a phonecall from Phil Gartside, the chairman of Bolton, and I have to say it was a very emotional call and, as he said, from time to time there are forces somewhere, that have nothing to do with reality. He spoke about the players who stood all around this guy.”

The 76-year-old was reminded of the late Marc-Vivien Foe who died in similar circumstances during a Confederations Cup match in 2003.

He added: "He was very emotional, and I was emotional as well because I told him the story of how I brought back Foe to Cameroon, how I accompanied him until his funeral.”

After the sudden death of Foe, Blatter pushed for clubs and national associations to carry out regular cardiac screenings for their players.

And, though no abnormalities were detected when Muamba recently underwent these tests, the Swiss believes such processes should be commonplace.

He said: "This player had heart screening last year and it should be done for everyone, in repetition but especially for those in competition in football or other sports."