Rangers cult hero Fernando Ricksen has revealed that a fundraiser later this month will be his last. Ex-Holland international Ricksen has been battling motor neurone disease since 2013.
Ricksen, 42, played for Rangers between 2000-6 and enjoyed a trophy-laden six years at the Gers, winning two titles, two Scottish Cups and three League Cups.
He is being treated at the St Andrew’s Hospice in Airdrie and admitted he is now finding it “very difficult” to attend events. In the video, during which he spoke through a special speech generating device, he said: “Hello. I’m having a special night on the 28th. 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 event is called ‘An Evening with Fernando Ricksen’ and will take place at the Goglasgow Urban Hotel. Tickets are on sale at £70 and also in attendance will be TV host David Tanner, former Rangers player Marvin Andrews, comedian Dee Maxwell and singer Lynsey Glen.
Since he became ill Ricksen has helped raise money for MND charities and also launched the Fernando Ricksen foundation in 2016. He was also involved in a documentary named “Fernando Ricksen – The Final Battle” after director Ronald Top was inspired by a tattoo the ex-player got which reads: “I am a warrior. “A warrior with a fighting spirit. I will never give up and never surrender.”
Football fans from around the globe were quick to show their support for Ricksen in responses on social media. One user wrote: “There is only one Fernando Ricksen. No colours no rivalry- only love from one human being to another.” Another said: “I’ve said a prayer Fernando, keep strong, your family must be so proud of you”, while another added: “A true fighter in every sense & meaning of the word… keep strong Fernando.”
Ricksen won two Scottish Premier League titles during his time at Ibrox, and also played for the likes of AZ and Zenit Saint Petersburg. He also won 12 international caps for the Netherlands.