Christian Eriksen is potentially facing the end of his career after Inter Milan revealed they must sell him as he is banned from playing in Italy with an implanted defibrillator.
Eriksen was fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) after suffering a cardiac arrest while playing for Denmark against Finland at Euro 2020 in June, to regulate any further changes in his heartbeat.
Serie A rules prevent players from playing in competitive games with a defibrillator, meaning an Inter exit is almost certain, but Eriksen could theoretically continue his career in another country.
Italy bans players at both amateur and professional level from competing if they have any significant heart abnormalities, and Francesco Braconaro, a member of the Italian FA’s technical scientific committee, revealed the Dane must have it removed to play in Italian football again, as it will show he has no further heart problems.
Ajax defender Daley Blind, for example, was also fitted with an ICD after being diagnosed with heart muscle inflammation, but has continued playing for the Eredivisie champions, as well as internationally for Holland.
The sight of Eriksen stricken on the pitch shocked the world during the European Championship tournament this summer. Denmark players surrounded Eriksen so that he couldn’t be seen while he was resuscitated on the pitch.
Captain Simon Kjaer, who comforted Eriksen’s partner Sabrina, and English referee Anthony Taylor were praised for their swift and empathetic response to the tragic events.
Inter Milan will have sell Christian Eriksen as he can’t play with an implanted defibrillator
Eriksen plays for an Italian club who have strict rules on players doing sport after heart issues
As reported by goal, an Inter statement read: ‘With reference to the registration rights of Eriksen, it should be noted that following a serious injury occurred during the European Championships in June 2021, (he) was temporarily inhibited by the Italian medical authority from sporting activity for the current season.
‘Although the current conditions of the player are not such as to allow the achievement of sporting fitness in Italy, the same could instead be achieved in other countries where therefore the player could resume competitive activity.’
During the game against Finland, Eriksen collapsed suddenly with no one near him, received immediate CPR treatment from medical staff and was then taken to hospital.
Eriksen was fitted with an ICD after having a cardiac arrest playing for Denmark at Euro 2020
Former Tottenham attacking midfielder Eriksen had lined up for his country against Finland
But images of his collapse shocked the world, with team-mates around him to give him privacy
Eriksen now has a implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) to control his heart rhythm
The match was postponed just after 6pm that evening and Eriksen was seen sitting upright whilst being stretchered off with an oxygen mask on his mouth just minutes later.
He was admitted to hospital before the Danish FA confirmed that he was awake and conscious, while his agent Michael Schoots revealed later that evening that he was able to speak and talk whilst receiving more checks.
The Denmark players then decided to finish off the match after hearing the news of Eriksen’s recovery.
A giant ‘Eriksen 10’ shirt displaying his name was shown at the tournament to support him
Fans of all different teams chanted songs and held banners to show solidarity with Eriksen
Eriksen was released from hospital following six days of treatment, which included him being fitted with an ICD (implantable cardioverter defibrillator).
The ICD is connected to the heart by wires and sends an electrical pulse in order to correct irregular rhythms.
On the night of Eriksen’s collapse, leading NHS cardiologist Dr Scott Murray claimed Eriksen would unlikely to be able to play for Inter again due to Italy’s strict rules on letting people with heart problems take part in sporting activities.
Dr Murray told MailOnline: ‘It probably is (the end of his career) for him. The Italians stop people participating in sport if they are found to have a significant cardiac abnormality, it’s in law.
‘They’ve been doing that for a long time, beyond 20 years and they’ve reduced the death rates from cardiac arrests in sport from beyond 3 per cent down to below one per cent.
‘He (Eriksen) comes from an Italian club so he must have had all of the tests before he started (playing for Inter). The Italians are the best at screening for heart disease in competitive athletes.
‘Italy has the greatest pre-participation screening in the world which tries to reduce events, but he still has an event on the pitch. So even if you screen, it can still happen.
Eriksen was part of the Inter Milan side which won the Serie A championship last campaign
He met team-mates at an August training camp but it looks like he will have to leave the club
‘It’s going to be difficult for him to eliminate, he’s still going to (be) that 0.01 per cent of people who will still have something happen.’
Although Blind was fitted with a pacemaker after complaining of dizziness in a Champions League match against Valencia in December 2019, he subsequently collapsed in a friendly against Hertha Berlin in August 2020.
However, he has generally enjoyed a safe return to top-level football. Others are not so lucky: Fabrice Muamba retired from football after collapsing on the pitch while playing for Bolton.
The Danish midfielder has played 60 times for Inter Milan since joining the club from Tottenham Hotspur 18 months ago. The 29-year-old helped the Italian side win their first Serie A title in 11 years last season.
During his time playing in England, Eriksen turned out over 300 times for Spurs in a six-and-a-half year spell in north London.
If Eriksen was to leave Inter then it is possible that he could return to Tottenham, who he played for between 2013 and 2020, with Ajax, another of his former clubs, an alternative destination.
Eriksen has made 60 appearances for Inter, scoring eight goals. He was part of the side that won the Serie A title last season.
Although Eriksen’s Inter contract runs until the summer of 2024, it appears that he may have to leave the club before then.
Footballers with defibrillators
Anthony van Loo, Roeselare: The Belgian defender was allowed to continue his career after being fitted with a defibrillator. It shocked his heart back into a normal rhythm after suffering cardiac arrhythmia during a match. He retired in 2018, aged 30, as he felt he could not return to his old performance levels.
Fabrice Muamba, Bolton: Former Arsenal midfielder Muamba’s heart stopped for 78 minutes but eventually made a recovery.
He retired five months later without having returned to football. He did however play 15 minutes in Ian Goodison’s testimonial match
Daniel Engelbrecht, Stuttgarter Kickers: The striker collapsed on the pitch against Erfurt but returned to the professional game aged 24 after 17 months, against numerous doctors’ advice.
He scored against Wehen Wiesbaden, becoming the first footballer to score with a defibrillator. However, he retired in 2018 to move into coaching when he found out the device had brought him back to life three times.
Daley Blind, Ajax and Holland: Blind was fitted with a pacemaker after complaining of dizziness in a Champions League match against Valencia in December 2019.
He subsequently collapsed in a friendly against Hertha Berlin in August 2020 but has generally enjoyed a safe return to top-level football.
Christian Eriksen, Inter Milan and Denmark: Eriksen collapsed on the pitch at Euro 2020 earlier this summer. Although he has recovered, strict Serie A rules mean he cannot play in Italy and current club Inter Milan must sell him.
He may choose to continue his professional career elsewhere, or retire.