Tuesday, August 25, 2009

25 August 2007 - Puerta Collapses

On 25 August 2007, 22-year old Sevilla midfielder Antonio Puerta collapsed on the pitch in the 36th minute of Sevilla's league opener against Getafe. He briefly lost consciousness, but soon recovered and was substituted out the game. He walked back to the dressing room, where he again collapsed and lost consciousness before being rushed to Seville's Virgen de Rocio hospital.

Puerta had recently established himself as a rising star for Sevilla, having scored the extra-time match-winner in the club's 1-0 win over Schalke 04 in the UEFA Cup semi-finals. Sevilla supporters refer to that goal as "el gol quenos cambiĆ³ la vida" (the goal that changed our lives) because it propelled them into a world-record-setting streak of five trophies in 15 months, starting with the 2006 UEFA Cup Final against Middlesbrough, which Sevilla won 4-0, and including the 2006 UEFA Super Cup, the 2007 Copa del Rey, the 2007 Supercopa de Espana, and the 2007 UEFA Cup Final against Espanyol, in which Puerta scored the winning penalty.

Puerta died on 28 August, his third day in the hospital. Doctors confirmed the cause as multiple cardiac arrests brought on by arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, a hereditary heart disease.

On 31 August, Sevilla played in the European Super Cup against AC Milan. As a tribute, the players from both sides all wore shirts with Puerta's name on the back.

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