London: Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba made an emotional return at the Reebok Stadium during their match against Tottenham Hotspurs on Wednesday.
Muamba was greeted by 22,000 applauding men, women and children.
‘Welcome back, Fabrice’ were the words, which were written on the big screen, and it served a dual meaning.
Muamba failed to hide his emotions as tears fell from his eyes.
Despite the high level of interest in Muamba’s first appearance at the Reebok Stadium since his cardiac arrest on March 17, Bolton tried to keep this occasion low-key, as there was no lavish floral tribute, no overemotional video mosaic.
“This is a special place,” The Telegraph quoted Muamba, as saying during a short interview.
“The support has been overwhelming, and I am just grateful for that. I am getting stronger every day. I am just happy to be able to speak to people again and walk freely,” he added.
Muamba revealed that he still has six or seven boxes of cards from well-wishers to read, and he expressed his gratefulness for the tremendous support he received from the fans.
“I am grateful for that. It stays in my mind every single day. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. The whole country has been overwhelming,” Muamba said.
After greeting staff at the stadium, Muamba made his way to the home dressing room, where every member of the team hugged him.
He met the Tottenham Hotspurs players who had alerted the paramedics so quickly to his plight, as well as manager Harry Redknapp.
“Fantastic, absolutely brilliant. Seeing him smiling, seeing him alive, was just wonderful,” said Redknapp.