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Fabrice Muamba forced to retire from football

Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba has announced his retirement from football on Wednesday, following medical advice he has received in light of his cardiac arrest last March.

Just six months ago, the 24-year-old collapsed during an FA Cup tie against Tottenham, with doctors saying he was "in effect dead" for 78 minutes.

Despite the miraculous recovery of the Democratic Republic of Congo-born player, there were always questions as to whether he could play again.

"While the news is devastating, I have much to be thankful for," said Muamba.

"I thank God that I am alive and I pay tribute once again to the members of the medical team who never gave up on me."

Muamba underwent minor heart surgery in Belgium earlier in the week, but the procedure is believed to have had no bearing on his decision to retire.

Lengthy consultation with cardiologists both in the UK and across Europe eventually led to the realisation that he would have to end his career prematurely.

"Since suffering my heart attack and being discharged from hospital, I have remained utterly positive in the belief I could one day resume my playing career and play for Bolton Wanderers once again," he said in a statement.

"But the news I received was obviously not what I had hoped it would be and it means I am now announcing my retirement from professional football."

"Football has been my life since I was a teenage boy and it has given me so many opportunities. Above all else, I love the game and count myself very lucky to have been able to play at the highest level.”

Muamba began his career at Arsenal before moving to Birmingham and then to Bolton, where he spent four years.

By Andrew Wade

Follow Total Football on Twitter: @TotalFootball12

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