Fernando Ricksen’s MND battle to be shown in documentary

Fernando Ricksen. Picture: SNS

Fernando Ricksen. Picture: SNS

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A DOCUMENTARY has been made on ex-Rangers player Fernando Ricksen’s battle with Motor Neurone Disease.

The former Rangers defender revealed on Dutch TV three years ago that he was suffering from the condition.

Ex-Rangers player Fernando Rickson, who now has MND. Picture: Donald MacLeod

Ex-Rangers player Fernando Rickson, who now has MND. Picture: Donald MacLeod

Ronald Top, a Dutch actor and writer, is producing the documentary - The Final Battle - on Ricksen’s life since being diagnosed.

Speaking to STV, the director said: “I saw him then doing his announcement which was very dramatic and powerful and brought tears to my eyes, and to many people in Holland.

READ MORE: Call for MND sufferers to access benefits for their lifetime

“Twitter exploded after the first two minutes where it seemed that he was drunk but then the presenter said ‘you seem to have some trouble talking’ and then he burst out in tears and said ‘well I’ve just been diagnosed with MND’.

“That completely changed the show and the interview. It was clear to us that this great football player was basically going to die. He himself thought this was the end of his life and it wouldn’t take very long.

“But here we are, three years later.”

The documentary is to focus on the former Ibrox captain’s life since his diagnosis at the age of 37.

A crowdfunding campaign has been set up and aims to raise 20,000 euros to enable post-production to begin quickly and a premiere to take place in the next few months.

Top added:”I was very much intrigued by his situation. We all know him as the former Rangers star and his exuberant lifestyle we also know, of course, and his striking actions on and off the field.

“But with battling MND he is finding himself in a different ball game right now.

“So I’m intrigued by why he’s not closing the curtains and suffering in silence - he’s opened them up and shown what this muscle wasting disease is really doing to him. His spirit is unbroken.”

Ricksen told the director could “literally film everything” of his life, except for him taking a shower.

Top added: “We’ve known him as a player of assert in his early days but he became famous also in our eyes when he started playing for Rangers.

“But I think the majority of Dutch people got to know him after his announcement of MND. And after that we really feel very sympathetic towards him.

“Fernando wants to give this illness a face and really show what the disease is doing to him.

“It is not a story about a man dying. I really want to correct that if somebody thinks that.

READ MORE: Young MND sufferer Lucy aims to be UK face of global drive

“It is a story of hope. Fernando shares with us a message which is very simple but also very powerful: enjoy life as long as you can.

“Because he’s not closing the curtains and not suffering in silence he shows people that you have to keep fighting and be out there and show yourself - be a part of society as long as you can - which is very inspiring I think for people who are in the same or similar situation.”

He concluded: “That was very striking to me because if you see Fernando and he’s not capable of doing a lot, he can’t walk or talk, I think that is amazing.

“However tragic or dramatic a situation is there’s always room for love and beauty.”

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