‘I nearly didn’t play’ – Daley Blind in tears during Netherlands victory over former teammate Christian Eriksen

The Dutch defender played alongside Eriksen for several years at Ajax (Pictures: Getty / ITV)

Netherlands defender Daley Blind left the pitch in tears during Sunday’s win over Ukraine and says he almost did not play after former teammate Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest.

The Danish midfielder collapsed during the first half of his nation’s Euro 2020 opening game against Finland on Saturday and had to be resuscitated with a defibrillator in horrific scenes.

Eriksen was brought to hospital and is now in a stable condition, even video-calling his teammates, but the events brought back painful memories for Blind who has suffered heart problems himself.

Denmark’s players formed a ring around Eriksen while he received CPR (Picture: AFP)

The former Manchester United man collapsed twice several years ago and was fitted with an ICD (implantable cardioverter defibrillator) in order to continue playing.

Blind was subbed off in the second half of Holland’s 3-2 victory and looked very emotional, while he was moved to tears in his post-match interview revealing that he very nearly did not play after seeing what happened to Eriksen – who he came through the Ajax academy with.

‘What happened last night had a really big impact on me,’ Blind told NOS after the game.

‘Not only because Christian is a very close friend of mine, but also because of what happened to myself.

‘It made me sleep badly and also I really considered not playing tonight. It was a big mental hurdle to overcome, but I’m proud that I did.’

Blind – who played alongside Eriksen for four years in the Ajax first team – also asked the media not to speculate on Eriksen’s health or footballing future.

Blind was in tears as he left the field during Holland’s win over Ukraine (Picture: Getty)
Blind was consoled by his manager as he made his way to the dugout (Picture: Getty)

Netherlands boss Frank de Boer revealed that the whole squad were affected by Eriksen’s situation, saying: ‘Everyone was in shock. It was hard to watch.

‘It brought back memories for some guys, Blind with his own heart incident, Matthijs de Ligt with [Abdelhak] Nouri. I suspended the tactical meeting that night and moved it to this morning.’

Denmark have confirmed that Eriksen is in a stable condition and upbeat mood, though they still do not know what caused the cardiac arrest and he will continue to remain in hospital for further examination.

Christian Eriksen ‘feels like he could go out and play’ after cardiac arrest, says Denmark head coach

MORE : ‘I cried, I prayed’ – Jose Mourinho reveals ‘very positive’ update from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg about Christian Eriksen

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