Rangers hero Fernando Ricksen's battle with MND laid bare in new book

Diary tells of his extraordinary courage in the face of devastating illness
Fernando Ricksen fought MND for six years.Fernando Ricksen fought MND for six years.
Fernando Ricksen fought MND for six years.

A book about former Rangers player Fernando Ricksen’s battle with motor neuron disease will be published next month.

Co-authored by his widow Veronika and the Dutch journalist Vincent de Vries, it details his extraordinary courage in the face of such devastating illness.

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Entitled Fernando Ricksen: The Final Battle. Life with MND, it will be published on 22 June, Global MND Awareness Day.

“[It’s] a book about a lost fight and shattered hope,” said de Vries, who kept a diary on Ricksen’s request and witnessed the terrible decline of his friend.

The former Ibrox captain, who helped Rangers win the title in 2003 and 2005, was diagnosed with MND in 2013.

Doctors gave him four months but Ricksen fought MND for six years before succumbing to the disease last year, dying on 18 September at the age of 43.

Ricksen had three wishes when diagnosed: to be the first person to beat the disease; to see Rangers become champions of Scotland again; and to have a book published about his battle.

The first two may not have come to pass, but the third one did, albeit posthumously.

“Typically Fernando”, says Veronika Ricksen. “That's why he insisted on this book. To show that you should never give up. That you always have to keep fighting. And that no matter how shaky the future may be, it is still possible to live, to love and to be happy”.

Part of the proceeds of the book will go to the Rangers Charity Foundation, which supported Ricksen for many years.

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De Vries said: “We are happy that we can do something in return. We can finally thank the Rangers family for all they have done for Fernando in his fight against MND.”

Connal Cochrane, director of the Rangers Charity Foundation, said: “Fernando was the first player I met after joining the Rangers Charity Foundation in 2005 and since then I always appreciated his support of the Foundation, his humour and charisma and of course his footballing talent.

“The Foundation is very grateful to be receiving a donation through the publication and sales of this book and to know that Fernando’s legacy will still be helping us to help others.”

Fernando Ricksen: The Final Battle. Life with MND will be available online from 22 June. Reservations can be made via www.fernandothebook.com

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