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Pepe Reina: My agony over shock death of pal Puerta

Aug 30 2007

by Simon Stone, Liverpool Echo

PEPE REINA has revealed the personal anguish he endured throughout Liverpool’s European clash with Toulouse on Tuesday night after hearing a former international team-mate had died just hours before kick-off.

Sevilla defender Antonio Puerta suffered a cardiac arrest during the first half of Saturday’s Primera Liga match against Getafe, and although he was able to walk off, the 22-year-old suffered a relapse in the dressing room and required resuscitation.

The Spanish international was rushed to the Hospital Virgen del Rocio in Seville but passed away shortly before Liverpool’s match was due to get underway.

Reina, who built a friendship with Puerta after the wing-back won his first cap against Sweden in a Euro 2008 qualifier last October, said the news of his death left him shocked and unable to focus on the Champions League qualifier.

“It was a tough moment before the game when we heard the news,” said Reina. “I just couldn't believe it and it was hard to play in the match after hearing this terrible news.

“I played with him in the national team and he was my team-mate.

“I send my sympathies to his family and my thoughts are with them at this hard time.

“This is the worst day in my life to know that someone who was quite close to me has died.

“I would like to dedicate our victory over Toulouse to Antonio.

“This kind of thing can happen to anyone and this time it has happened to a footballer who was only 22.

“We have to be thankful for every day and to enjoy life. It makes you realise that being healthy, seeing your family and children, are the most important things in life.”


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