Nouri was taken to the hospital after collapsing during a friendly with Werder Bremen in Austria on July 8 and has been left with permanent brain damage.
After best friend Donny van de Beek scored for Ajax last week in the first leg in Nice, he said, ‘the goal was for Appie (Nouri’s nickname) and his family’. Nice players also showed their support, warming up before the first leg in tee-shirts that said ‘Stay Strong Appie’.
There will be a sombre mood in the stadium as Ajax host Nice in their Champions League qualifier on Wednesday. Ajax have confimed that although Nouri’s heart is working normally, he has lost function in parts of his brain. ‘The chances of recovery of these crucial brain functions is nil. This was probably due to a lack of oxygen supply to his brain,’ the club said.
New coach Marcel Keizer said, ‘it’s really difficult, at times we all have our weak moments. Luckily, thanks to the football, we can dull those senses a bit. But I was not surprised by the mental character of the players against Nice. I can see how strong a squad they are.’