Cadiz goalkeeper Jeremias Ledesma has been branded a hero after racing to help a fan who collapsed in the stands during Saturday’s match against Barcelona.
Play was halted in the 82nd minute – with Barca leading 2-0 at the time – when the players alerted the referee to a medical emergency in the stands at the Estadio Nuevo Mirandilla, with an older supporter having collapsed.
While many players looked on in stunned silence, Ledesma – who wears his middle name, Conan, on the back of his shirt – immediately raced over to the dugout to get a defibrillator from the Cadiz medical team.
The Argentine then sprinted back to the corner of the ground where the emergency was taking place and threw the defibrillator up in to the stands for the nearby medical crew to use.
Ledesma looked extremely concerned as he watched what was happening, while Barca defender Ronald Araujo could be seen praying for the supporter.
Eventually both sets of players were taken off the pitch and into the changing rooms, with the match later resuming at 21:10 local time (20:10 BST) – nearly an hour after play was first suspended.
Barcelona confirmed: ‘The game has been stopped due to a medical emergency with a fan in the stands. The players are going to the locker rooms.’
Incredibly, a second person in the stands – believed to be a camera operator – then also fainted, though Cadiz president Manuel Vizcaino has now confirmed that both people are okay.
‘The first fan who fainted has recovered his pulse and they took him away in an ambulance. He revived, he fell again, but in the end they managed to stabilise him,’ explained Vizcaino, with the second fan also recovering.
Speaking after the match, Barca boss Xavi said: ‘The life of a human being is above football. If there had been a misfortune, then we would have suspended the match for sure.’
Ledesma’s quick thinking was universally praised, as were the actions of his team-mate Jose Mari.
The veteran midfielder, who had been on the bench when the drama unfolded, helped a steward bring a stretcher from the pitch up into the stands and carried it over to the medical crew who were helping the supporter.
Cadiz’s twitter page was inundated with messages applauding the goalkeeper, even from Barcelona fans, with one writing to the club: ‘You have an amazing person in your team.’ Another tweeted: ‘This is football for you. Humanity is above all.’
‘Appreciation tweet to Conan Ledesma for his heroic intervention to assist the fan who collapsed watching the game between Cadiz and Barcelona,’ wrote another. ‘He will go down in history as a saviour.’
When the match resumed, Ansu Fati and Ousmane Dembele both netted in the few minutes that remained as Barca secured a 4-0 victory.
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