Captain Kjaer, a stone for Denmark in Eriksen trauma

Captain Kjaer, a stone for Denmark in Eriksen trauma

Simon Kjär has become much more than a captain for Denmark, the defender praised as a stone for his calm that saved the life of teammate and close friend Christian Eriksen.

When Eriksen collapsed, just before half time in Saturday’s match against Finland in the European Championship 2020, time stood still in Copenhagen.

Not for Kjær, who from his half of the plane rushed forward to roll Eriksen on his side, stabilized his head and opened his mouth to prevent him from suffocating in his tongue.

An intervention that was considered crucial before medical staff arrived to administer CPR to the 29-year-old who had a cardiac arrest.

The quick thinking of the AC Milan midfielder was no surprise to those who know Kjær.

“He has an imperial calm, we saw it with his fantastic reaction on Saturday,” Jean-Michel Vandamme, who recruited Kjær to the former French club Lille in 2013, told AFP.

“He’s a kind of modern (German captain Franz) Beckenbauer, a man of great class.”

When the doctors arrived, Kjaer stepped aside and watched over his battered teammate as he organized the others, many in tears, in a semicircle to protect Eriksen from public view and television cameras.

As Eriksen’s upset partner Sabrina Kvist Jensen came running on the pitch for fear of the worst, it was once again Kjær, together with goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, who hugged and reassured her.

Schmeichel, whose composure was also praised, praised “a fantastic person and a captain”.

“I am not surprised that Simon Kjær has taken the lead. He has great ethics and I am proud to regard him as my friend.”

Kjaer and Eriksen know each other well and live in the same city where they play for rival clubs, the defender in AC Milan and the midfielder at Serie A champions Inter.

The team had a hot battle with this campaign where Inter won the league title after 11 years of waiting and AC Milan returned to the Champions League.

Inter Italian midfielder Nicolo Barella was among the first to praise Kjær: “In addition to the colors, congratulations Simon, a captain and a real man.”

Inter CEO Giuseppe Marotta emphasized his “very important intervention”, while Inter’s ultra fans even put out a banner to hire Denmark’s captain.

At AC Milan, some supporters even demanded that Kjaer, who joined the club in January 2020, take over the skipper’s bracelet.

It is not so far-fetched a proposal, with the current captain Alessio Romagnoli no longer a match in the first team and goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma’s contract will expire at the end of June.

There are other candidates such as the Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic, midfielder Franck Kessie or Davide Calabria, the longest-serving Milan player.

Kjaer has won those in Milan, as he did in Lille between 2013 and 2015.

“The first thing I remember is the person. He was an exemplary boy, extremely kind and a true professional who lived fully for his profession. When you have guys like that, you do not forget them,” said Rene Girard, his coach. in Lille, told AFP.

However, it remains to be seen how Kjær, the player, will end this Euro after such intense feelings.

On Saturday, he resumed the match against Finland, but asked to be taken off shortly after in a state of shock and Denmark lost 1-0.

“He tried, but it could not be done. It is completely understandable”, says coach Kasper Hjulmand, who will need Kjär on Thursday for their second group B match against Belgium and Romelu Lukaku, Eriksen’s ongoing Inter teammate.

Source: News24


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