Rangers legend Ricksen passes away following battle with motor neurone disease

Fernando Ricksen Rangers
The Dutchman, who had also played for the likes of AZ and Zenit, has died six years after being diagnosed with his condition

Former Rangers player Fernando Ricksen has passed away following his battle with motor neurone disease.

The Dutchman was diagnosed in October 2013 and set up the Fernando Ricksen Foundation with the aim of helping others suffering from the same condition.

After six years of struggling with the condition, Ricksen sadly died on Wednesday morning at the age of 43.

The right-back spent six seasons with Rangers, playing over 180 games for the club after joining from AZ Alkmaar in 2000, winning a cup double in his first season and playing in both finals, before going on to win a domestic treble the season after.

In his time in Scotland, he won the Scottish Premiership and Scottish League Cup three times each as well as the Scottish Cup twice.

He was named club captain in January 2005 following a serious injury to Stefan Klos and scored nine goals from full-back as he claimed Rangers' Player of the Year award and shared the SPFA Player of the Year award with John Hartson.

Rickson began his career in his homeland with Dutch side Fortuna Sittard, spending three seasons there after breaking into the first team at the age of 18, before moving to AZ, where he spent a further three years ahead of his move to Scotland.

In 2006, Rickson moved to Russia to join Zenit Saint Petersburg - initially on loan before making the move permanent - and met his former employers in the 2008 UEFA Cup final, although was an unused substitute as Rangers were beaten 2-0 in Manchester.

He then spent the final three years of his career back with Fortuna Sittard, before he was forced to retire and announced his battle with motor neurone disease.

In 2015, a benefit match was held at Ibrox that raised £320,000, the proceeds of which were split between Rickson's family, MND Scotland and the Rangers Charity Foundation.

Rickson also won 12 caps for his national side, four of which were competitive matches in European Championship qualifying.