MILAN, Italy : Denmark captain Simon Kjaer has said he was not a hero for his efforts to save stricken team mate Christian Eriksen, who suffered a cardiac arrest at Euro 2020 - an incident that has left the Inter Milan midfielder's future in football uncertain.
Eriksen collapsed to the ground during Denmark's opening game of the tournament against Finland in June and received life-saving treatment on the pitch, with the cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) started by Kjaer.
"I’m not a hero, I just did what I had to do, without thinking, like anyone else would," AC Milan defender Kjaer told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera on Thursday.
"I was ready to remain calm, like all my team mates. It was a team effort, obviously we would have done the same if he had been an opponent. The only thing that matters is that Christian is fine now. That's the only important thing.
"I did it without thinking. Instinct guided me, and I did what I had to, automatically. It was the first time this happened to me, I hope it’s the last too."
Eriksen has had a cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) device implanted - a type of pacemaker which can prevent fatal cardiac arrests by discharging a jolt to restore a regular heart rhythm.
The 29-year-old returned to Inter's training ground earlier this month, with the Serie A champions saying at the time that he was "in excellent physical and mental shape".
However, his future in the game is unclear after Francesco Braconaro, a member of the Italian Football Federation's technical scientific committee, said last month Eriksen will not be allowed to play in Italy unless the ICD device is removed.
Inter told Reuters on Thursday that Eriksen was now in Denmark and would be monitored by doctors for "some months".
(Reporting by Peter Hall; Editining by Ken Ferris)