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Real midfielder De la Red retires due to heart problem

Real Madrid midfielder Ruben de la Red has been forced to retire from professional football after failing to overcome the heart problems that have prevented him from playing for two years.

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De la Red, 25, collapsed during a Copa del Rey tie against Real Union in October 2008 and was diagnosed with a heart problem. He missed the entirety of the 2009-10 season as Real sought to find a solution, but after extensive exams, he was advised against returning to the pitch.

Spain has suffered the loss of two high profile players - Antonio Puerta and Dani Jarque - to heart conditions in recent seasons and player and club decided against risking a return to first-team football.

De la Red will remain within the Real Madrid set-up as a youth coach, retaining his links with the club where he graduated as an academy player.

"Today is a day that represents the change of life of Ruben de la Red," he said. "I have ended my playing career and now doors have opened for another life. The club has offered me, someone very young, the opportunity to stay tied to football and I will not waste it.

"I'll learn my role as a coach and give everything, as I did as a player. I have infinite gratitude to the club for giving me this opportunity, and to the fans that supported me and the doctors that treated me. I hope that football will remain part of my life for a long time.

"I want to start giving my support to all those athletes who have suffered like me, who have had their dreams cut short sooner than expected. Doctors recommended to me that I should not return to the shirt of Real Madrid. A problem in my heart compels me to retire, but my heart still beats for Real Madrid."

Former Real coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo first promoted the midfielder to the senior squad in 2005 and he made his debut in September of the same year, when replacing Raul in a game against Athletic Bilbao.

Real sold De la Red to Getafe in the summer of 2007, but included an option to re-sign the player and took up that option 12 months later after his brilliant performances away from the Bernabeu.

De la Red signed for Real prior to Euro 2008, where he was a member of the Spain squad that won the competition under Luis Aragones. He scored in a 2-1 win over Greece in the group stages.

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