FERNANDO Ricksen’s determined battle with MND is being relived by his widow and certainly one of his closest buddies in a brand new charity e book.

The Rangers idol’s spouse Veronika, 34, and biographer Vincent De Vries, 46, wrote The Ultimate Battle over six years from the hero’s shattering analysis to his dying at 43.

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Rangers legend Fernando Ricksen battled in opposition to MNDCredit score: Goffe Struiksma

Vincent mentioned of the rollercoaster account: “It’s not nearly disappointment. It’s additionally about pleasure.”

Our unique serialisation of the Dutch ace’s battle with the sickness will describe moments from his analysis in October 2013 as much as his dying final September.

Now, we inform of Vincent’s tragic diary entries from his closing visits to see the stricken Gers hero at St Andrew’s Hospice in Airdrie.


July 2, 2019

“I CAN’T do that any longer.”

“What, Fernando?”

“This. Life. All the things.”

His messages get shorter and shorter. He hardly replies.

He broke contact together with his mom, with Victor Morgan and with different shut mates.

There are fixed quarrels with Veronika. He can’t pay his payments anymore.

The meet & greets are over, so there’s nothing to look ahead to anymore.

 Ricksen with his wife Veronika

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Ricksen together with his spouse Veronika

His ex Graciela refuses to pay him the big amount of cash she owes him, although a decide ordered her to take action.

There may be, in different phrases, not a lot left to stay for. He’s completed.

That’s most likely why he needs to return to the Netherlands, a rustic the place euthanasia is feasible.

I can absolutely perceive it. Each time I go to him, nothing has modified. He’s nonetheless there, in his mattress.

On precisely the identical spot and in precisely the identical place. Whereas, within the meantime, I’ve been right here, there and all over the place.

For him, it’s the mattress — and nothing else.

So it’s fairly comprehensible that he thinks: let me go to a rustic the place they will terminate this ineffective life.

Ricksen’s tragic story

CULT hero Fernando received seven trophies in his six-year spell at Rangers following a £3.75million switch from Dutch facet AZ Alkmaar in 2000.

He later moved to Zenit St Petersburg in Russia in 2006 and 4 years later signed once more for his first-ever crew, Holland’s Fortuna Sittard, earlier than retiring in June 2013.

And simply 4 months later he revealed his shattering MND analysis stay on Dutch TV.

The Scottish Solar informed in October 2013 how Fernando sobbed as he confessed he was “very sick”.

He received followers worldwide together with his brave battle in opposition to the muscle-wasting situation.

However ultimately he was pressured to make use of a wheelchair and a Stephen Hawking-style laptop to speak.

In January final yr we revealed he had moved into St Andrew’s Hospice in Airdrie after changing into too unwell to return to Valencia, Spain, to stay with spouse Veronika, 33, and daughter Isabella, seven.

Fernando made his closing public look at a Gers fan occasion final June earlier than passing away on the hospice on September 19, aged 43.

September 4, 2019

“OF COURSE you might be welcome!”

I requested him if I may drop by once more. And there I’m, as soon as extra, on the reception of St Andrew’s Hospice in Airdrie.

Solely this time it doesn’t really feel good.

The cleansing woman doesn’t sing any extra.

The girl behind the desk doesn’t ask me in regards to the Netherlands any extra.

The nurse I stumble upon doesn’t greet me, however stares on the flooring. And he or she has one thing to say to me.

 Ricksen in action for Rangers

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Ricksen in motion for RangersCredit score: Scottish Information and Sport

“He’s actually unhealthy immediately. You’ll be able to select: come again another time or have a fast look now.

“One minute, no more.”

I determine to do the latter. So I enter his room – and I’m shocked.

He’s completely quiet. The telly is off. There may be nothing however silence.

I do know I solely have 60 seconds, so I ask him what I haven’t requested him for months now.

“How are you?”

Ricksen’s closing interview

THE e book additionally particulars the inspirational star’s final ever interview with a Dutch radio journalist about his fears for the longer term.

Within the diary entry from June 20 final yr, Fernando tells ex-Paralympic wheelchair basketball participant Roos Oosterbaan: “The battle will get harder by the day.”

Roos asks: “Have you ever ever had a second on which you thought, ‘life isn’t value dwelling any extra?’.”

Fernando: “Certain. As you may think about, it’s completely horrible when you may’t do issues by your self any extra.

“When you may’t communicate, can’t transfer.. If you end up pressured to eat and drink by way of a tube.That ain’t dwelling. That’s attempting to outlive.”

Roos: “And what do you do once you’ve had sufficient? If you end up actually depressed?”

Fernando: “I shut my eyes and hearken to music. Andrea Bocelli.”

Requested if he hoped his daughter Isabella would develop into an excellent footballer, he replied: “That’s my dream.”

With one eye closed and one half open, he ‘sorts’ a letter.

“T.”

He closes each eyes and his head falls forwards.

Ten seconds later he raises his head once more, with fairly a little bit of effort. As soon as once more a letter seems.

“I.”

And the identical occurs once more. Eyes, head… And one other letter.

“R.”

 Ricksen at home

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Ricksen at house

Similar routine, in full silence.

“E.”

And a closing one, with actually loads of effort.

“D.”

And I feel: that is the second. The second to go. To say goodbye – eternally.

I bend over and provides him a kiss on the brow. I then contact his face for the final time.

And I thank him for every little thing. For all the gorgeous moments he has given me – and the world.

September 7, 2019

WHATSAPP from Fernando, by way of the browser of his laptop, to Veronika in Spain.

“See you one other time. Bye bye bye.”

September 18, 2019

FERNANDO hasn’t woken up since he fell asleep, three days in the past.

And now, shortly after 10am, the final muscle tissue in his physique cease working. He doesn’t breathe any extra.

As Veronika calls me with the unhappy information, I curse and I cry.

However on the similar time, I’m relieved. For him. For her. As a result of there received’t be any struggling any extra. The battle is over.


BIOGRAPHER Vincent has informed how he fought tears as he learn again about his closing conferences together with his late pal.

The journalist, 46 — who spent practically seven years compiling the e book — admitted that it was emotional reliving the journey in print.

Vincent informed The Scottish Solar: “It was very robust studying again my visits to the hospice.

“That was the toughest piece of the e book, the final go to.

“I wrote it perhaps ten occasions as a result of it was so laborious.

“It was a really robust day leaving as a result of I knew for certain that that might be the final time I noticed him.

“It was emotional partly as a result of I by no means confirmed emotion in entrance of him. I needed to be sturdy for him.

“There have been tears for certain after I learn it again. He’s in my thoughts every single day. I miss him so much.”

 Vincent De Vries with the Dutch version of the book

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Vincent De Vries with the Dutch model of the e book

The pair spoke every single day on WhatsApp and travelled to Rangers fan occasions collectively, with Vincent additionally making common journeys to see him within the hospice in his closing months.

And it was Fernando’s want to have the e book revealed after his dying — to point out how robust combating MND is.

Vincent mentioned: “He mentioned, ‘Please write the e book however present the negatives and the positives’.

“It’s not a e book nearly disappointment, it’s additionally about pleasure.

“He needed folks to know extra about MND. It was an honour to know him and to learn again within the e book how he by no means gave up.

“He nonetheless had humour until the tip. Might I’ve performed that? I don’t assume so.

“He knew he would die quickly however he stored joking and making folks snort.

“It reveals the actual Fernando.”


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Tailored by Scottish Solar reporter Ben Archibald from Fernando Ricksen: The Ultimate Battle – Life with MND by Vincent De Vries and Veronika Ricksen.

The e book is obtainable from June 22 for £16.99 and e-books value £9.99 and orders will be made on-line at www.fernandothebook.com.

A part of the proceeds from the sale will go to the Rangers Charity Basis.



Rangers legends Ian Durant, Barry Ferguson and Lee McCulloch assist out the meals financial institution at Bothwell, Uddingston and Viewpark Neighborhood Motion Belief


www.thesun.co.uk

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