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13 Jan, 2022 13:55

Ex-Real Madrid star dubbed hero after aiding rival stricken by heart attack on pitch

Colombia international James Rodriguez rushed to the aid of an opponent who suffered a cardiac arrest
Ex-Real Madrid star dubbed hero after aiding rival stricken by heart attack on pitch

Ex-Everton and Real Madrid star James Rodriguez has been dubbed a hero for coming to the aid of opponent Ousmane Coulibaly when he suffered a heart scare in a Qatari Stars League match.

James joined Al-Rayyan in September after what became an unflattering spell at Everton which lasted just a season despite signing an initial two-year deal.

The 2014 World Cup Golden Boot winner was in a action for his new Qatari club against Al-Wakrah at the weekend when opponent Coulibaly collapsed near one of the goals in the first half.

But rather than stand by idly as the horrific scenes unfolded, the ex-Real Madrid attacking midfielder rushed to the Malian's aid before medics emerged.

Becoming a hero in a similar way to Simon Kjaer when teammate Christian Eriksen suffered an identical scare playing for Denmark at Euro 2020, Rodriguez decided to adjust Coulibaly's head.

According to doctors, as reported by beIN Sports, this allowed the 32-year-old to breathe properly as part of a quick-thinking move that was "vital" in saving his life.

While Coulibaly's wife has since stated that her husband is in a "stable condition," photo evidence has also emerged of the double Champions League winner attending to him and providing support.

The severity of the incident caused the abandonment of the tie with Al-Rayyan leading 1-0, and the remaining part of the fixture was replayed on Monday.

A guard of honor was given by the players to medical staff as they held up a jersey with Coulibaly's name on it, and blue-haired Rodriguez scored two goals to make it 3-0 and keep his side eighth in the table via a man of the match performance.

As a local reporter remarked at the time that Coulibaly's incident looked "similar" to the cardiac arrest experienced by Eriksen, who is now a free agent after being released from his Inter Milan contract due to anti-internal defibrillator rules in Serie A, theirs are just two of numerous scares in football as of late.

In October, Barcelona striker Sergio Aguero had to leave the Camp Nou pitch complaining of dizziness and chest pains during a La Liga match against Alaves, and last month was forced to announce his retirement from the sport.

Victor Lindelof had similar concerns during a meeting with Norwich that he also had to exit, but has since returned to Manchester United action by putting in an unflattering FA Cup performance at home to Aston Villa last weekend.

Among the most tragic of all, however, was the plight of 25-year-old Deportivo Marquense defender Marcos Menaldo, who died in Guatemala after suffering a heart attack in training at the turn of 2022.