Denmark international Christian Eriksen said on Tuesday that while he “died for five minutes” after he collapsed on the pitch in June, his goal is to play in this year’s World Cup in Qatar.
Eriksen, 29, hasn’t played since suffering a cardiac arrest against Finland in last year’s European Championship in Copenhagen, when he received life-saving treatment on the pitch.
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The former Internazionale, Tottenham Hotspur and Ajax playmaker said he intended to return to football to play for Denmark at the World Cup.
“At the hospital, they kept saying I’d received more and more flowers,” he said. “It was weird, because I didn’t expect people to send flowers because I’d died for five minutes.”
The Dane recently had his contract terminated by Inter after having a heart-starter device implanted following his dramatic collapse. Such devices are not permitted in Italy and his career there was effectively ended.
“My goal is to play in the World Cup in Qatar, that’s been my mindset all along. Whether I’ll be picked is another thing, but it’s my dream to come back. So until then I’m just going to play and prove that I’m back at the same level,” he said.
Eriksen said that his heart was “not an obstacle,” adding that the event at Copenhagen’s Parken Stadium was unlikely to be repeated.
“My dream is to rejoin the national team and play at Parken again and prove that it was a one-timer. Again, it’s up to the manager to assess my level,” he said.
His former teammate Daley Blind had a similar device fitted and is playing at Ajax, the Dutch club where Eriksen broke through before joining Premier League side Tottenham, and a number of clubs are likely to be in the market for a player of Eriksen’s ability.
“They [the doctors] have said ‘fine,’ said it’s good, so everything is stable, which therefore feels like a green light to be able to play football again,” Eriksen said.