October 31, 2013 / 1:18 PM / 6 years ago

Ex-Dutch defender Ricksen has motor neurone disease

Olympique Marseille's Samir Nasri (L) challenges Fernando Ricksen of Zenit St. Petersburg during their UEFA Cup soccer match at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille March 06, 2008. REUTERS /Philippe Laurenson

(Reuters) - Former Dutch international Fernando Ricksen has revealed he has been diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

The 37-year-old, who played for Rangers, Fortuna Sittard, AZ Alkmaar and Zenit St Petersburg, broke down on Dutch television program. The World Keeps Turning when talking about his illness, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which causes muscle weakness and has no known cure.

“The medical people have said my condition could worsen quickly. I do not know any more,” he said on Wednesday’s program shown on Nederland 3.

Ricksen appeared over 180 times for Scottish club Rangers between 2000 and 2006 and captained them to the title in 2005. He also won the Russian Premier League title with Zenit and was part of their UEFA Cup-winning squad in 2008.

He retired from football at the end of last season while playing with Fortuna.

Reporting by Josh Reich; Editing by Alison Wildey

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