Stricken Ajax player taken back to Amsterdam

The Hague (AFP) –


Stricken Ajax midfielder Abdelhak Nouri who suffered serious brain damage after collapsing last weekend has been transferred from Austria to an Amsterdam hospital, his club said Friday.

"We can confirm he is in Amsterdam. His condition remains unchange," Ajax spokesman Miel Brinkhuis told AFP.

Tributes continued pouring in in support of the promising 20-year-old youngster who was diagnosed with "serious and permanent brain damage" on Thursday.

Nouri suffered irregular heart problems in a pre-season friendly against German side Werder Bremen in Austria on Saturday and collapsed, before he was resuscitated and flown to an Innsbruck hospital by helicopter.

At first the news from the hospital seemed positive, but hopes were shattered for a quick recovery when Ajax announced Thursday that he suffered massive brain damage, most likely from a lack of oxygen.

"News that the Ajax super-talent Abdelhak Nouri has suffered severe brain damage burst like a bombshell across Europe," the popular Algemeen Dagblad tabloid said.

Hardest hit though is his working class neighbourhood in western Amsterdam where Nouri grew up as a "pleasant and sympathetic youngster," the paper said.

"Nouri was a player that stirred the imagination, a friendly player with a boy's face in whom a football connoisseur could recognise the joy, fun and creativity of the game," the centre-left De Volkskrant said.

"It doesn't get more bitter than this," added the daily tabloid De Telegraaf.

"The friendly, soft-spoken but roguish Appie who once put a smile on everybody's face has now become the centre of dismay and sadness," the paper said.

Nouri made his debut for Ajax in September last year in a Dutch Cup match against Willem II, scoring a goal.

He was also named the 2016-17 player of the season in the Dutch second tier while turning out for Jong Ajax, the Amsterdam giants' reserve team.