Abdelhak Nouri ‘cried tears of joy’ when told Donny van de Beek would wear number 34 at Manchester United as tribute to former Ajax teammate
Abdelhak Nouri turns 24 today and will always hold a special place in the hearts of his former Ajax teammates.
Nouri collapsed and suffered a cardiac arrhythmia attack during an Ajax pre-season game in 2017.
Nouri was revived on the pitch and airlifted to hospital.
However, he was left with brain damage and in a vegetative state, and only woke from a coma earlier this year – two years and nine months after the tragic incident.
Known as Appie, Nouri was born in Amsterdam and came through Ajax’s academy to eventually debut for their first-team.
He had played nine times for Ajax before the incident.
A number of his former teammates have chosen to wear the number 34 shirt in honour of Nouri.
Man City defender Philippe Sandler also requested the number when he joined the club in 2018.
Van de Beek completed his £40million move to Manchester United last year and announced he would be wearing the number 34 as a tribute to Nouri.
The 23-year-old came through the ranks at Ajax and has gone on to establish himself in the Holland national team.
Van De Beek played an important role in the Dutch club’s Champions League semi-finals run and signed a five-year deal at Old Trafford with the option of a further season.
Nouri is reported to have cried ‘tears of joy’ when he was told to Van De Beek’s gesture.
And his father, Mohammed, has revealed how he reacted when Van de Beek called to tell them which shirt number he had picked.
He told NOS: “Donny called me. He asked if I was okay with him playing with number 34.
“And I said he should. I can only be proud of that, it’s a nice gesture, very special for us.”
He added: “Appie’s eyes looked very sharp suddenly.
“He had tears of joy on his cheeks and was clearly moved when he heard Donny’s voice. Donny is like a son to us.
“Everyone at our house was very emotional, happy with Donny’s wonderful transfer.
“It was a special day.”