Man City signing left ‘very scared’ by chest pain during game

Manchester City signing Claudio Echeverri has revealed that a “very strong pain” in his chest and difficulty breathing during Argentina’s Olympic qualifier against Chile left him “very scared”.

Echeverri officially joined City from River Plate last week, signing a long-term contract until 2028. He will remain with the Argentine giants on loan until next January, mirroring the deal that was struck between the club for Julian Alvarez two years ago.

The youngster only recently celebrated his 18th birthday and has played just a handful of senior games for River Plate. But a health scare while in action for Argentina’s Under-23 team is of concern and will prompt Echeverri to undergo a medical assessment.

“During the game I had a very strong pain in my chest. I couldn’t breathe very well. I was very scared. I jumped down to [catch] the air and then, thank God, it went away a little,” the player explained to local reporters after the 5-0 Argentina win.

Claudio EcheverriClaudio Echeverri

Claudio Echeverri is highly-rated / Luciano Bisbal/GettyImages

“Afterwards I continued well. I’m going to talk to the doctors anyway, to see what it is. Something like this had never happened to me, I felt very scared. I’m fine, thank God.”

Echeverri had previously enjoyed an excellent record at Under-17 international level, taking home the Bronze Boot as third top scorer at last year’s Under-17 World Cup. But this was just his second appearance for the older Olympics age group – and his first start. Wearing the number 11 shirt, he played 64 minutes from the left wing before being withdrawn.

Chest pain and the possibility of dangerous undetected heart conditions are a real concern among footballers. Within the last few years, City legend Sergio Aguero has been forced into premature retirement after chest discomfort led to the diagnosis of a cardiac arrhythmia, while Christian Eriksen collapsed during a game at Euro 2020 due to suffering a cardiac arrest. A heart condition ended the career of Denmark Women international Rikke Sevecke at the age of 27 just this month.

Heart problems have also proven to be life-changing or even fatal for other footballers. Former Ajax talent Abdelhak Nouri collapsed due to cardiac arrhythmia during a friendly in 2017 and suffered permanent and severe brain damage. Fabrice Muamba was one of the lucky ones when he was “in effect dead” for 78 minutes after collapsing on the pitch in 2012, with Marc-Vivien Foe tragically losing his life in 2003 when medics spent 45 minutes unsuccessfully trying to restart his heart.

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