|Full name||Antonio José Puerta Pérez|
|Date of birth||26 November 1984|
|Place of birth||Seville, Spain|
|Date of death||28 August 2007(aged 22)|
|Place of death||Seville, Spain|
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Mainly a left midfielder who could also operate as an offensive left back, he died on 28 August 2007, affected with arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia, three days after suffering a series of cardiac arrests during a league game against Getafe on the 25th.
Born in Seville, Andalusia, Puerta joined Sevilla FC as a boy and spent a total of 14 years at the club, growing up at the club's acclaimed youth system alongside other players such as Sergio Ramos, Jesús Navas, José Antonio Reyes, Alejandro Alfaro and Kepa Blanco. His La Liga debut came on 21 March 2004, as he played 71 minutes in a 0–1 home defeat against neighbours Málaga CF.
Definitely promoted to the first squad for 2005–06, Puerta became intimately connected to Sevilla's history on 27 April 2006, when he scored against FC Schalke 04 in the UEFA Cup semifinals: in the final moments of the match, he received a long ball and struck it with his left foot for the 1–0 final (and aggregate) win– Sevilla went on to collect five titles in fifteen months, with Puerta scoring his penalty shootout attempt in the 2007 UEFA Cup final, against fellow first-divisioner RCD Espanyol; his impressive performances earned him international recognition and reported interest from Arsenal, Manchester United and Real Madrid, but all bids were rejected.
On 25 August 2007, Puerta collapsed and lost consciousness in the penalty area due to a cardiac arrest during Sevilla's first La Liga match of the 2007–08 at homeground Sánchez Pizjuán against Getafe CF. He was seen crouching and then subsequently collapsing upon moving back to his team's goal, after only 35 minutes of the game had passed. Teammates Ivica Dragutinović and Andrés Palop immediately ran to his side as he lost consciousness. Moments later, club medical staff and other players followed suit.
After recovering and being substituted, Puerta was able to walk to the dressing room, where he collapsed once again. He was resuscitated by the doctors and taken, by ambulance, to the intensive care unit of Virgen del Rocío hospital, where he received cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Puerta died on 28 August 2007, at 14:30. Doctor Francisco Murillo reported that Puerta had suffered multiple organ failure and irreversible brain damage as a result of multiple prolonged cardiac arrests due to an incurable, hereditary heart disease known as arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia. There is no official word on whether he had ever been equipped with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, an essential precaution in people with the disease. Puerta's premature death from heart problems is similar to those of Marc-Vivien Foé, Matt Gadsby, Miklós Fehér, Renato Curi, Serginho and Phil O'Donnell all of whom collapsed whilst playing in football matches. His girlfriend was expecting their first child at the time of his death.
As a mark of respect, players from both Sevilla and city rivals Real Betis attended his funeral days after his death. Following Puerta's death, FIFA ordered the installation of resuscitation rooms in every stadium that hosted the South American World Cup qualifiers.
As a result of Puerta's death, Sevilla's UEFA Champions League qualifier against AEK Athens F.C. was postponed until the fourth of September– Sevilla eventually won 4–1. The club also announced that a one-minute silence would be held before every league match on the weekend of 1–2 September 2007.
Additionally, Sevilla's UEFA Super Cup game with A.C. Milan on 31 August went ahead, as a tribute to the player, with all 22 participants having the name 'PUERTA' printed on the back of their jersey. The players and officials on both sides also wore black armbands.
Sevilla subsequently retired Puerta's number 16 shirt, with the provision that should his son, Aitor Antonio (born 22 October 2007), one day play for the club, he will have the option to bring the number out of retirement. However, Spanish football teams were not allowed to do so, as the Royal Spanish Football Federation stated that clubs should use number 1 to 25 for their regular squad, with no additional room for manoeuvre. As a result, central defender David Prieto wore the shirt in 2007–08, in honour of his friend.
Former Sevilla and Spain teammate Sergio Ramos wore a white t-shirt with Puerta's picture on the front and the number 16 on the back, during celebrations of the national side's UEFA Euro 2008 victory. Under the picture it read "Siempre con nosotros" ("Always with us"). Ramos also wore a shirt with Real Madrid that showed his brotherhood with Puerta during a game against Villarreal CF when Ruud van Nistelrooy scored in a 5–0 away routing.
In April 2010, Sevilla built a sculpture in the José Ramón Cisneros Palacios sports centre in homage to Puerta. The statue was unveiled exactly four years after he scored against Schalke 04 to take the club into the UEFA Cup final in 2006. On 11 July, as Spain lifted the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, while celebrating after collecting their winners medals, Ramos and another former Sevilla teammate, Navas, wore T-shirts in his honour.
Puerta was capped once by the Spanish national side, playing against Sweden on 7 October 2006: he came on as a substitute for Deportivo de La Coruña's Joan Capdevila in the 52nd minute of a 0–2 away loss for the UEFA Euro 2008 qualifiers.
Additionally, Puerta played five times for the U-21s.
- Spain U23
- Sevilla star dies after collapse
- "Sevilla midfielder Puerta dies". The Guardian. 28 August 2007. Retrieved 28 August 2007.
- Puerta sends Sevilla through; UEFA.com, 27 April 2006
- Palop ensures cup joy for Sevilla; UEFA.com, 16 May 2007
- Graeme Bailey; Mark Kendall (13 December 2006). "United join Puerta race". Sky Sports. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 28 August 2007.
- "Sevilla's Puerta dies in hospital". BBC Sport. 28 August 2007. Retrieved 28 August 2007.
- "Fallece el sevillista Antonio Puerta tras más de dos días en la UCI" [Sevilla's Antonio Puerta dies, after more than two days in ICU] (in Spanish). El Mundo. 28 August 2007. Retrieved 28 August 2007.
- "Sevilla's Puerta dies three days after collapse". ESPN Soccernet. 28 August 2007. Retrieved 28 August 2007.
- "Fallece el futbolista del Sevilla Antonio Puerta" [Sevilla footballer player Antonio Puerta dies] (in Spanish). El País. 28 August 2007. Retrieved 28 August 2007.
- Bayern and Ajax given tough ties; UEFA.com, 31 August 2007
- Opponents united in respect; UEFA.com, 1 September 2007
- "Girlfriend of Sevilla's deceased midfielder Antonio Puerta gives birth to his son". The International Herald Tribune. 23 October 2007. Retrieved 23 October 2007.
- "Del Nido anuncia que el Sevilla retirará el dorsal '16'" [Del Nido announces Sevilla will retire No. 16 jersey] (in Spanish). Marca. 1 September 2007.
- "Sevilla build statue in homage to Antonio Puerta". Inside World Soccer. 28 April 2010. Archived from the original on 1 May 2010. Retrieved 9 May 2010.
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