Former Ibrox favourite loses his six year battle…

Today it was announced that former Rangers and Netherlands footballer Fernando Ricksen passed away. His battle with motor neurone disease (MND) finally came to an end after six years.

After being diagnosed with the disease, also know as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), support came from far and wide including former team mates, former rivals and fellow professionals. He also began a charity in his own name to help find a cure for the disease.

I think it is fair to say that many of us were devastated and saddened to see Fernando’s decline. MND/ALS is a disease that was well known to Celtic fans when it claimed the life of Lisbon Lion, Jimmy Johnstone in 2006 at the age of 61.

Fernando enjoyed success in his career with Fortuna Sittard, AZ, Rangers and Zenit Saint Petersburg. Wherever he played he made a name for himself on and off the field.

The contrast between the player who often courted controversy and the man he became after his diagnosis in 2013, made his health even more of shock to people who knew of him. It put everything in perspective with regards to the petty squabbles that we often see in the game of football.

He fought bravely as many other MND sufferers do and we can only hope that he is now at peace after showing a willingness to battle on. One thing we can say for certain about Fernando Ricksen is that he gave everything throughout his career and we applaud him for his contribution to the game and bringing awareness of this disease to the wider public.

Research into MND, which took him at the age of 43, will continue. If you ever wish to donate to the cause, Fernando’s charity can be found here as well as the MND Scotland charity.

Hail! Hail! Fernando.

Stevie Mac

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