Fabrice Muamba: Football unites after Bolton player's collapse

Players, managers and officials have expressed their support for Bolton's Fabrice Muamba, who is critically ill after collapsing on Saturday.

The midfielder, 23, suffered a cardiac arrest during the FA Cup quarter-final tie at Tottenham.

Arsenal's Johan Djourou , a former team-mate of Muamba, posted on Twitter  that he had visited his friend in hospital.

"Love you so much man! Keep fighting. Everybody please pray for him he's an amazing man and friend," he tweeted.

Muamba was taken to the London Chest Hospital after falling to the pitch at White Hart Lane, with the match subsequently abandoned after referee Howard Webb called visibly distressed players off the field.

MUAMBA FACTFILE

  • Born on 6 April 1988 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Progressed through Arsenal's youth academy, representing England at every level from under-16 to under-21
  • Joined Birmingham in 2007, having been there on loan previously, then moved to Bolton the following year
  • Appeared at the 2011 European Under-21 Championship in Denmark for England Under-21s, for whom he made 33 appearances

Both sets of fans chanted Muamba's name as he was taken off the pitch on a stretcher, while on Sunday there was applause for the player before the Premier League match between Wolves and Manchester United at Molineux.

Former Bolton defender Gary Cahill scored the opening goal in Chelsea's FA Cup quarter-final against Leicester on Sunday and revealed a T-shirt with the message: "Pray 4 Muamba".

Afterwards he said: "Today's match was like a blur and I just hope he's alright. My mind was in a different place."

Since the incident, there have been many messages of support for the former Birmingham player.

Spurs' Rafael van der Vaart , who was one of those on the pitch when Muamba collapsed, tweeted:  "Terrible what happened with Muamba during the game. We're all praying for him."

England international Jack Wilshere  who played with Muamba at Bolton, wrote: "I will never forget my first day [at Bolton]. Fab showed me around and basically looked after me. If you know him then you will know what type of man he is! A leader and a genuinely nice guy! Everyone keep praying."

Middlesbrough defender Justin Hoyte, who played in the Arsenal youth team with Muamba, posted:  "I seriously hope my best friend in football is OK. Stay strong bro, please please stay strong. God is with you remember that."

Arsenal, Muamba's first club, released a statement saying: "The thoughts and prayers of his many friends at Arsenal Football Club are with Fabrice and his family at this time."

PLAYERS' MESSAGES ON TWITTER

"Praying for you Fab. Hope he's OK. Thoughts with him and his family. For all those asking, I know as much as you do. Waiting anxiously for updates from team-mates. Fab is a fighter!" Bolton midfielder Stuart Holden 

"Pray for Fab. God willing he will pull through." Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe 

"All our hearts with Fabrice Muamba, one of my closest friends at Bolton. I'm shocked, wishing him a fast recovery." Wigan's former Bolton goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi 

"Hope Fabrice Muamba is OK. Praying for him and his family. Still in shock." Manchester United and England striker Wayne Rooney 

"Doesn't matter who you support. Doesn't matter if you aren't a football fan. Doesn't matter if you aren't religious. Pray for Fabrice Muamba." Tottenham defender Kyle Walker 

"I'm so sad about what happened to Fabrice Muamba today. Played with him for a couple of years. What a great guy. Always a smile on his face. Please Fabrice bring that smile back. My thoughts are with you and your lovely family!" Arsenal captain Robin van Persie 

And a spokesman from Muamba's former club Birmingham said: "The thoughts of everyone at the club are with Fabrice and his family.

"He was a very popular member of the club during his time here and everyone at St Andrew's is shocked and saddened to see what happened."

Former Blues chairman David Gold tweeted:  "Fabrice Muamba is one of the nicest and most respectful young men I ever met in football. I'm thinking of you Fab, get well soon."

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, after his team's 5-0 win at Wolves, said Muamba's situation puts "everything into perspective".

"What was terrific was that both sets of fans acknowledged there was problem," he added.

"The medical staff for both teams were fantastic, they got there immediately."

Support for Muamba extended overseas, with Italy and Juventus star Andrea Pirlo saying Juve's 5-0 win over Fiorentina was for his fellow midfielder.

"We want to dedicate our goals to Muamba, the Bolton player who fell ill on the pitch. We all support him," said Pirlo after the game on Saturday night.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter said on Twitter:  "Shocked to hear about Fabrice Muamba. My thoughts are with him and his family, his club & loved ones at this difficult time."

Bolton's next scheduled match, against Aston Villa on Tuesday, has been postponed. Villa boss Alex McLeish also worked with Muamba at Birmingham.

"He is a manager's dream in terms of his commitment to the team," said McLeish. "I pray that Fabrice is able to pull through."

Norwich manager Paul Lambert understands what Muamba's friends and family are experiencing as he knew Phil O'Donnell, who died after collapsing on the pitch while playing for Motherwell in 2007 .

He said: "It was horrific. Hopefully that lad is going to be OK.

"It happened up in Scotland a few years ago to a good friend of my own, so I know what people are going through but hopefully, he is going to pull through."