'Warrior, rest in peace' - Fans and former clubs pay tribute to Rangers legend Fernando Ricksen, who has died at 43

Tributes have been paid to former Rangers defender Fernando Ricksen, after the ex-Dutch international passed away at the age of 43.

Wednesday, 18th September 2019, 1:59 pm
Fernando Ricksen is applauded by the crowd ahead of a Rangers home game with Hamilton in November 2017

The Ibrox treble-winner had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2013. Clubs and personalities from the footballing sphere have been paying tribute to Ricksen.

A statement from PFA Scotland read: "Heartbreaking news about Fernando Ricksen - our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this sad time.

"He made a huge effort to attend our Player of the Year Legends Night in 2018 - he won the PFA Scotland Player of the Year jointly with John Hartson in 2005."

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Prominent Rangers blogging site, Four Lads Had a Dream, paid tribute, writing: "Fernando will always be remembered as a true warrior both on and off the field.

"A treble-winner, he went on to captain the club during one of our finest moments on "Helicopter Sunday" championing the iconic saying, "First is everything, second is nothing".

"It was Fernando’s spirit that made him captain of our great club, and even at our club he overcame the greatest of setbacks to reach the highest of highs.

"Our thoughts are with his wife and family. The Rangers family will remember you fondly and you will be sadly missed."

The SPFL's official Twitter account issued a statement reading: "Everyone at the SPFL is deeply saddened to learn that former Rangers player Fernando Ricksen has passed away after his battle with motor neurone disease.

"Our thoughts are with his family."

Former club Zenit St Petersburg wrote: "We're deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our former player Fernando Ricksen. He battled bravely against motor neurone disease right until the end and we are all thinking of him and his family at this difficult time."

His first professional side, Fortuna Sittard, wrote: "Today we received the sad news that Fernando Ricksen has died at the age of 43. We wish all his relatives strength at this difficult time. Warrior, rest in peace."

AZ Alkmaar added: "Fernando Ricksen died on Wednesday at the age of 43. The former AZ player suffered from ALS muscle disease. The defender played 60 matches, scoring nuine goals for AZ between 1998 and 2000 and won his first international caps at that time.

"AZ wishes his family and friends strength following their sad loss."

TV and radio presenter Cat Harvey shared a memory of Ricksen, writing: "I sat with him at a charity dinner years ago, nobody was bidding for one item, so he put his hand up and bid £2000 to get a hand-crocheted quilt.

"He smiled politely then turned and whispered, "what is a quilt?" His campaigning for MND has been inspirational. RIP."

Aberdeen tweeted: "Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Fernando Ricksen who has sadly passed away following a brave battle against Motor Neurone Disease."

Hamilton Accies tweeted: "The club is saddened to hear former Rangers player Fernando Ricksen has passed away. Everyone at the club is thinking about Fernando’s family, friends and former colleagues at this sad time."

Livingston paid tribute, stating: "Desperately, desperately sad news this morning with the passing of Fernando Ricksen.

"The thoughts of everyone at Livingston are with Fernando’s family and friends as well as all at Rangers FC."

St Mirren issued a statement, saying: "The thoughts of all at St Mirren are with the family and friends of Fernando Ricksen after his sad passing following a courageous battle against Motor Neurone Disease."

Hearts added: "Everyone at Heart of Midlothian FC would like pass on their condolences to Rangers Football Club and the family and friends of Fernando Ricksen after his sad passing today."

Kilmarnock posted on their official Twitter account: "Everyone at Kilmarnock sends their condolences to the family and friends of Fernando Ricksen at this tragic time."