Christian Eriksen has made it clear that it is his intention to return to playing football and wants to represent Denmark at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Eriksen has been sidelined since suffering a cardiac arrest during a match at Euro 2020 and subsequently having to be fitted with a defibrillator. Now a free agent, the midfielder says he is back to full fitness and wants to prove to his national team boss that he still has what it takes to line up for his country.
It has been nearly six months since Eriksen’s collapse on the field, which occurred on June 12, 2021. A number of Danish national team players, including captain Simon Kjaer and defender Daley Blind, have talked about the mental struggles they have faced since the incident. Still, today marks the first time Eriksen has spoken publicly at length about the incident on the pitch and his intentions moving forward.
What did Eriksen say about playing soccer again?
In a video posted to Twitter, Christian Eriksen made his first formal announcement regarding his intentions to play professional soccer again.
“My goal is to play in the World Cup in Qatar. I want to play,” Eriksen said in an interview with Danish TV. “That’s been my mindset all along. It’s a goal, a dream.”
“Whether I’ll be picked is another thing, but it’s my dream to come back,” he said. “I’m sure I can come back because I don’t feel any different. Physically, I’m back in top shape. That’s been my goal and it’s still some time away. Until then, I’m just going to play football and prove that I’m back at the same level.”
“[The national team is] very important. I want to play on the national team in the World Cup. My dream is to rejoin the national team, play at Parken again and prove that it was a one-timer and that it won’t happen again. I want to prove I’ve moved on and that I can play on the national team again. Again, it’s up to the manager to assess my level, but my heart is not an obstacle.
Eriksen went on to thank all of those that supported him, both during his incident and in the months since.
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“It was amazing that so many people felt the need to write or send flowers,” he said. “It had an impact on so many people and they felt a need to let me and my family know. That makes me very happy. At the hospital, they kept saying I’d received more and more flowers. It was weird, because I didn’t expect people to send flowers – because I’d died for five minutes. It was quite extraordinary, but it was very nice of everyone and it’s been a big help to me to receive all those best wishes.
“And people still write to me. I’ve thanked people I’ve met in person. I’ve thanked the doctors, my team-mates and their families in person. But all the fans who’ve sent thousands of letters and emails and flowers – or who’ve come up to me on the street in both Italy and Denmark – I thank them all for the support I got from all over the world that helped me through this.”
Where could Eriksen play again?
The only country Christian Eriksen could definitely not play in is Italy, having been released by Inter due to the country’s tight restrictions on playing with an internal defibrilatior. His agent also ruled out MLS or Australia’s A-League due to “family reasons.”
From there, it’s anybody’s guess, as his agent would not go into further details.
“It’s too early to say where Christian’s future lies,” Martin Schoots told Sky Sports in mid-December. “Because of special regulations in Italy, which have already existed for decades, the only thing we know for sure is that it will not be in Italy. And it will not be in another continent either, because of family reasons. A few clubs have already contacted us some weeks ago. We have to see what the future brings. But it seems bright and that is the most important thing.”
Former clubs Ajax and Tottenham have both been suggested for obvious reasons, with Spurs pushing for a top four Premier League position and Ajax engaged in the Champions League knockout phase. Ajax also currently employs Danish teammate Daley Blind, who is also fitted with an internal defibrilator.
Newcastle United and Leicester City are other Premier League destinations that make sense, while a return to his native Denmark could also be on the cards, as Eriksen has trained with his boyhood club OB while returning to fitness over the past few months.