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Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba retires from professional football

Fabrice Muamba has announced his retirement from professional football. Photo: REUTERS/Darren Staples

Fabrice Muamba has announced his retirement from professional football.

The former Bolton Wanderers midfielder suffered a cardiac arrest during a FA Cup match against Tottenham Hotspur last March - his heart stopped for 78 minutes.

Muamba spent a month in hospital after he collapsed at White Hart Lane but aimed to make a comeback in football.

Fabrice Muamba collapsed during a FA Cup game against Tottenham Hotspur. Credit: Reuters

In a statement released on Bolton's official website, Muamba said:

Since suffering my heart attack and being discharged from hospital, I have remained utterly positive in the belief I could one day resume my playing career and play for Bolton Wanderers once again.

As part of my on-going recovery, last week I travelled to Belgium to seek further medical advice from a leading cardiologist. But the news I received was obviously not what I had hoped it would be and it means I am now announcing my retirement from professional football.

Football has been my life since I was a teenage boy and it has given me so many opportunities.

Above all else, I love the game and count myself very lucky to have been able to play at the highest level. While the news is devastating, I have much to be thankful for.

I thank God that I am alive and I pay tribute once again to the members of the medical team who never gave up on me. I would also like to thank everyone who has supported me throughout my career, and the Bolton fans who have been incredible.

I am blessed to have the support of my family and friends at this time.

Bolton manager Owen Coyle paid tribute to Muamba, calling him a "fighter" and a "strong person":

We have spoken with Fab and he knows we will always support him in whatever he wants to do and that we will always be here for him.

He is obviously massively disappointed that he won’t be able to carry on his career, but everyone has seen what a fighter and strong person he is in mind and body.

We know that he will go on to achieve great things and within all this disappointment, the most important thing is that he is here, alive, today.

On behalf of everybody at The FA I'd like to say how sorry we are to learn that Fabrice Muamba has had to end his professional football career.

His recovery has been miraculous and a great tribute to all who have been involved.

I would like to wish him the very best for the future and I know that the thoughts of the entire football family will be with him.

– FA CHAIRMAN DAVID BERMSTEIN

Muamba fled war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo when he was 11 and moved to London.

Despite being unable to speak English when he arrived in the UK, he went on to get 10 GCSEs and three A-levels.

He joined Arsenal's youth academy in 2002 before moving to Birmingham and then Bolton.