Ajax reportedly severed ties with Abdelhak Nouri on Monday, just days after the 22-year-old woke up from a coma that lasted over 32 months.
The midfielder was brain damaged after suffering a cardiac arrest during a friendly with the Amsterdam club in July 2017. His brother, Abderrahim, said "some communication" was possible with his sibling when Abdelhak returned to the family's home last week, while the former prodigy's father, Mohammed, harbored hopes of a "miracle" recovery.
But Ajax don't seem to share that optimism and have canceled Nouri's contract, according to reports in the Netherlands that Reuters' Mark Gleeson relayed. The termination of the former Dutch youth international's deal means Ajax avoid an automatic one-year extension of Nouri's terms on July 1.
Nouri's promising career was widely presumed to be finished when he was hospitalized over two-and-a-half years ago, but his family members allege that he may have avoided permanent brain damage with better on-pitch care. A defibrillator wasn't used to treat Nouri when he collapsed during the match against Werder Bremen, and investigations since the incident have declared that was an error by Ajax.
"We recognize our responsibility and liability for the consequences of this," the club's general manager Edwin van der Sar said in 2018.
Although Ajax will no longer grant Nouri a playing salary, Dutch daily De Telegraaf understands the reigning Eredivisie champions are in talks with Nouri's family and personal injury lawyer John Beer regarding a future solution for the player.
Nouri played 15 times for Ajax in his debut 2016-17 season, including three appearances en route to that campaign's Europa League final. He was among the most highly regarded prospects in Europe.
"He has brilliant technique and a huge portion of desire to make the difference. Nouri has such an astonishing array of tricks and flicks that he is compared to none other than Ronaldinho," Bart Vlietstra wrote for The Guardian's roundup of "the best young players in world football" in 2014.
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