Christian Eriksen says he knew he would play football again just two days after suffering a cardiac arrest at Euro 2020.
Eriksen has signed for Brentford on a six-month dealmaking a remarkable return to the Premier League just seven months after suffering a cardiac arrest.
Eriksen left Inter Milan in December by mutual consent after being suspended by the Italian medical authority from playing in Serie A due to a rule prohibiting the use of an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) device he has had fitted.
The 29-year-old had the ICD fitted after he suffered a cardiac arrest during Denmark’s Euro 2020 match against Finland in Copenhagen. He has completed all the necessary medical checks and is fit to return to football.
In an interview with Brentford, when asked when he had started believing he could play football again, Eriksen said: “Two days later. I was in the moment, and I realized what had happened to me later that night and then into the next few days what was really going on.
“All the tests start and the knowledge started to come in. Questions were being asked over whether I could do this or that, I listened to the doctors, and then afterwards it just slowly took off.
“If I could do the program with the tests the doctor set me, then I could slowly get back to playing football. First of all, there were a lot of tests to see how the heart reacted to physical training again.
“Luckily, nothing came out of that so everything was good. Every month, I could really push it and then I could play. Even with an ICD, there are no limits. Even with this condition, there are no limits.
“You can run a marathon, deep-dive swimming or whatever, it just depends on the diagnosis and how you feel about it. I told Sabrina [his wife] I’d leave my boots but also not to be surprised if in a few days, I’d change my mind if everything was OK. Luckily, it’s been OK. “
Eriksen has said his heart is “not an obstacle” to get back playing – and in England, athletes are given the autonomy to decide for themselves whether or not to continue on the risk balance.
It is not illegal in the UK for Eriksen to play with an ICD and he will become the first ever to play with one in the Premier League.
Eriksen insists the move to Brentford gives him the opportunity to return to something nearer to a “normal” way of life, and the Dane wants to eventually be seen as a footballer again, without the association of the incident from June 2021.
“It was difficult. The first three months, I didn’t do anything but then the last three or four months I’ve been doing the rehab program. It was difficult to see matches at the start because you’re always thinking that you I want to be there. I even started to unfollow matches because your focus is on something else or on the family.
“But in the last few months, it’s come back. I’ve been able to touch the ball, I’ve smelt the grass, the football boots are on and everything starts to come back inside you, the excitement of the stadium, the fans, the team and being involved.
“The challenge was more overcoming what really happened. You want to get back to normal, but for me, normal was getting back to playing in Italy but I wasn’t allowed to do this. So for me, the normal had to change. We have a chance to get back to a normal life at Brentford.
“That is my aim [to be seen as Eriksen the elite footballer again]. I’ve been given the green light from the doctors, that I am able to be the Christian footballer. Of course, I will always have it with me, and everyone will have the memory of what happened, but this is now the time to make new memories and look forward.
“I’m excited to show that you can, with an ICD, and if you have had a cardiac arrest, if you do the proper tests and everything is OK you can play again. I am happy about it.”