De la Red ends playing career
Real Madrid's Ruben de la Red has been forced to bring a premature end to his playing career.
By Ben Collins
Last Updated: 04/11/10 4:43pm
Real Madrid midfielder Ruben de la Red has been forced to bring a premature end to his playing career.
The 25-year-old was a member of Spain's Euro 2008-winning squad, despite spending the previous season with Getafe.
But just three months later he collapsed during Real Madrid's Copa del Rey match against Real Union due to a heart problem.
And although De la Red has fought to continue his playing career, he has reluctantly taken medical advice and accepted a position on Real's coaching staff on Thursday.
"I am starting a very exciting stage in my career," he said. "I wish to send my support to all those players out there whose careers were also cut short.
"I am also very grateful to all the people who have supported me since I fainted. I've fought against this in vain and doctors advised me to stop."
After coming through the Real youth ranks, De la Red made his first-team debut in 2004 before joining Getafe in 2007 and did enough to earn both an international call-up and a move back to the Bernabeu.
His return would last just seven games, though, before his heart problem emerged during that game in October 2008.
"Real Madrid have watched me grow since I joined the Under 10 side and now they see me retire from the game," he said.
"I want to become a coach now. I may have a problem with my heart, but it still beats for Real Madrid."
De la Red made his third and final international appearance during Euro 2008, scoring as Spain beat Greece 2-1 in their final group game, and he revealed that new Real coach Jose Mourinho has given him his full backing.
"Jose Mourinho was aware of my situation from day one and he was very clear when he spoke to me," he said.
"He told me he would count on me if I was able to play, but if that wasn't the case, he said he would be delighted to have me in his staff."
Spanish football has been rocked by a series of similar incidents in recent years, with Sevilla defender Antonio Puerta and Espanyol captain Dani Jarque both passing away after collapsing in matches due to heart failure.
Last month, Salamanca midfielder Miguel Garcia collapsed due to a cardiac arrest during a second-division game and had to be resuscitated.