Christian Eriksen returns to the Premier League just seven months after suffering a cardiac arrest while playing for Denmark at Euro 2020; midfielder released by Inter Milan last month because Italian rules do not allow someone to play with an ICD (implantable cardioverter-defibrillator)
Monday 31 January 2022 18:26, UK
Christian Eriksen has signed for Brentford on a six-month deal, making a remarkable return to the Premier League just seven months after suffering a cardiac arrest.
Eriksen left Inter Milan in December by mutual consent after being suspended by the Italian medical authority from playing in Serie A due to a rule prohibiting the use of an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) device he has had fitted.
The 29-year-old had the ICD fitted after he suffered a cardiac arrest during Denmark's Euro 2020 match against Finland in Copenhagen. He has completed all the necessary medical checks and is fit to return to football.
In a video posted by Brentford's official Twitter account, Eriksen said: "I'm happy to announce that I've signed for Brentford football club. I can't wait to get started and hopefully I'll see you all very soon."
Before signing for Brentford, Eriksen had been training in southern Switzerland and stepped up his preparations for a return last week by training with his former side Ajax. The deal was completed with Eriksen still in the Netherlands.
Eriksen moves to Brentford with a strong Danish connection at the club. Boss Thomas Frank, who coached Eriksen as Denmark U17 boss 13 years ago, and international team-mates Christian Norgaard and Mathias Jensen are among many known to the midfielder.
Frank said: "I am looking forward to working with Christian again. It has been a while since I last coached him, and a lot has happened since then.
"Christian was 16 at the time and has become one of the best midfield players to appear in the Premier League. He has also won trophies all over Europe and become the star of the Danish national team.
"We have taken an unbelievable opportunity to bring a world-class player to Brentford. He hasn't trained with a team for seven months but has done a lot of work on his own.
"He is fit but we will need to get him match fit and I am looking forward to seeing him work with the players and staff to get back towards his highest level.
"At his best, Christian has the ability to dictate games of football. He can find the right passes and is a goal threat. He also has very, very good set-piece delivery, both from corners and direct free kicks.
"He is a player you can find with the ball, and he will come up with a solution to the problem in front of him. Christian will also bring experience of top-level football to the club. I expect him to have an impact in the dressing room and at the training ground."
Eriksen has said his heart is "not an obstacle" to get back playing - and in England athletes are given the autonomy to decide themselves whether or not to continue on the balance of risk.
It is not illegal in the UK for Eriksen to play with an ICD and he will become the first ever to play with one in the Premier League.
Discussing the process of signing him, Brentford director of football Phil Giles said: "We first discussed the possibility of Christian joining Brentford when we heard that he would be leaving Inter. It is fantastic that he is now with us.
"Naturally the process of signing Christian was more elongated than most transfers. I understand that many people will have questions about the process.
"In order to respect Christian's medical confidentiality, we won't be going into any details. Brentford fans can rest assured that we have undertaken significant due diligence to ensure that Christian is in the best possible shape to return to competitive football.
"Now Christian has made the decision to sign for Brentford, all parties want to focus fully on football.
"We are sure that Christian will make a big impact at Brentford and on the Premier League between now and the end of the season."
Eriksen recently received his Covid-19 vaccination and, to comply with rules regarding entry to the UK, he will travel to west London in the coming days and will not train this week.
Eriksen revealed earlier this month he "died for five minutes" before being revived by medics, who gave life-saving treatment on the pitch in Copenhagen.
He also told Danish broadcaster DR he wants to play at this year's World Cup.
Eriksen said: "My goal is to play in the World Cup in Qatar. I want to play. That's been my mindset all along. It's a goal, a dream.
"Whether I'll be picked is another thing, but it's my dream to come back.
"Physically, I'm back in top shape. I want to prove I've moved on and that I can play on the national team again.
"It's up to the manager to assess my level but my heart is not an obstacle."
Last month, Eriksen's agent Martin Schoots told Sky Sports News the midfielder was "optimistic" about resuming his football career and had been working hard to return to playing.
Sky Sports' Adam Smith:
Eriksen was the undisputed king of assists during his six-and-a-half-year spell with Tottenham - ranking top for creating goals and carving chances in the Premier League during that time.
In addition, the Dane led for producing the spectacular with a league-topping 23 goals struck from outside the box, of which eight of those came from direct free-kicks.
The graphic below reveals the illustrious elite in his company, including the likes of Mesut Ozil, David Silva, Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne - of which only the latter would notably exceed Eriksen for creative returns per 90.
In terms of positioning, Eriksen frequently topped the running metrics during his time at Tottenham and primarily operated centrally, midway inside the opposition half - creating chances from every angle.
His creative output declined at Inter Milan, failing to secure a regular starting berth before his horrific collapse at Euro 2020 last year - but Eriksen is an undisputed world-class talent and a stellar acquisition for Thomas Frank's side.
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