Fernando Ricksen was a ‘real fighter,’ says Ally McCoist in heartfelt tribute to Rangers icon after his death

19 Sep

Ally McCoist has paid a fitting tribute to Rangers icon and ‘lad full of fun’ Fernando Ricksen, who passed away this week after a battle with motor neurone disease.

The Glasgow club confirmed their former full-back’s passing on Wednesday. He was just 43 and is survived by his wife and daughter.

Ricksen was a key figure at Ibrox during his six-year spell with the Gers, winning two Scottish titles, plus the league, Scottish Cup and League Cup treble in the 2003/04 season. He was also the joint winner of the SPFA Player of the Year gong in 2004/05.

McCoist says Fernando Ricksen was ‘daft enough’ to fit right into Rangers’ nine-in-a-row side of the 90s
Getty Images - Getty

And while he didn’t play alongside him in blue shirt, McCoist had a close friendship with his follow Rangers hero and hailed him as a ‘fighter’ after his tragic death.

“What a fight and what a fighter,” Ally said on Thursday’s Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast.

“He was incredible. He tried to raise as much money as he possibly could, even in the last months of his illness, for others suffering from the illness

“He was a real fighter and I can’t help but think of his wife Veronika and his wee daughter Isabella. It’s a real tragedy.

Hundreds of tributes have been left at the Ibrox gates in tribute to Fernando Ricksen
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“It’s certainly brought Scottish football together, a lot of the clubs up in Scotland came out with some lovely messages.

“It’s very sad.”

McCoist said the highest praise he could pay Ricksen is that he would have slotted right into the all-conquering Rangers side of the 90s alongside himself and Paul Gascoigne that won nine Scottish first division titles in a row.

“The biggest compliment I can pay Fernando – and he was a lad full of fun and there was never a dull moment – is that he was daft enough that he wouldn’t have looked out of place in our squad with Gascoigne and others like that.

“Don’t get me wrong he could play as well. You don’t play for your country if you’re not a player. But some of the stories – he was a real character.”

Watch a clip of Ally McCoist remembering Fernando Ricksen above

Fernando Ricksen: Rangers confirm former player has died, aged 43, following battle with motor neurone disease

18 Sep

Fernando Ricksen has died following a lengthy battle with motor neuron disease, his former club Rangers have confirmed.

In a statement on their website, the Ibrox club wrote: “Rangers is deeply saddened to announce that former player Fernando Ricksen passed away this morning following his battle with motor neurone disease.”

Ricksen, who spent six years with the Gers, revealed he was suffering with MND in 2013.

He fought a lengthy battle against the condition and helped to raise awarness and funds for the Fernando Ricksen Foundation, which aims to help others suffering from the illness.

Rangers added: “The thoughts of everyone at Rangers is today with his wife Veronika, his daughter Isabella and all his family and friends.”

More follows.

Fernando Ricksen: Terminally ill Rangers legend calls on fans to attend ‘final night’ as he battles motor neurone disease

10 Jun

Former Rangers player Fernando Ricksen has posted an emotional video on social media calling for fans to turn out for his ‘final night’.

Ricksen, 42, is suffering from motor neurone disease and has previously admitted he will spend his final days in St Andrew’s Hospice in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire.

Fernando Ricksen is seen in his bed at St Andrew’s Hospice
Twitter - @broxi63

The video, posted on a Twitter account entitled ‘Ricksen my friend/pauline’, shows the Dutchman in a hospice bed with his computer-generated voice calling for supporters to turn out for a ‘night to remember’.

“Hello, I’m having a special night on the 28th,” he said. “Since it’s getting very difficult for me, this will be my final night.

“Come and make this a night to remember. Hopefully see you soon, Fernando.”

The same account is advertising An Evening with Fernando Ricksen at GoGlasgow Urban Hotel on June 28 with his former Rangers team-mate Marvin Andrews also due to attend. Tickets cost £70.

The video post was retweeted by Ricksen’s close friend and biographer, Vincent De Vries.

The Rangers legend is in the final stages of motor neurone disease

The former Zenit St Petersburg player set up the Fernando Ricksen Foundation in 2016, raising money to fight MND, which attacks the nerves that control movement so muscles no longer work.

Ricksen, who made more than 250 appearances for Rangers between 2000 and 2006 and won two titles, three League Cups and two Scottish Cups, revealed he had the terminal illness in 2013.