'Keep our prayers up for the big man' - Dutch stars wish Koeman well after Netherlands boss has heart surgery


Netherlands international stars have wished head coach Ronald Koeman well in his recovery from heart surgery.

Koeman was taken to hospital on Sunday and underwent a successful cardiac catheterisation on Sunday, his agent confirmed.

The 57-year-old was due to be discharged to continue his recovery from home on Monday and Dutch players Memphis Depay, Georginio Wijnaldum, Marten de Roon and Ryan Babel all offered messages of support via social media.

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Lyon forward Depay, who scored six goals during the Netherlands' successful Euro 2020 qualification campaign under Koeman, posted on Instagram: "Let's keep our prayers up for the big man! #HeLeadsTheNewWave."





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Let’s keep our prayers up for the big man!  #HeLeadsTheNewWave

A post shared by Memphis Depay (@memphisdepay) on May 4, 2020 at 12:49am PDT

Atalanta's De Roon has established himself as a key presence alongside Frenkie de Jong at the base of Koeman's midfield and tweeted: "All the best with your recovery boss. Let's make sure we can smile together real soon. Take care."

Former Liverpool forward Babel posted a picture of himself and Koeman shaking hands on his Instagram story, while current Anfield favourite Wijnaldum tweeted: "Wishing you soon recovery coach."

Koeman led his country to second place at the inaugural Nations League finals in 2019 and sealed qualification for Euro 2020, which has now been postponed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. That ended the Netherlands' dispiriting run of failing to reach a major tournament since reaching the semi-finals of the 2014 World Cup.

Koeman was rushed to hospital after feeling unwell on Sunday, his wife Bartina told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, but was helped quickly, did not suffer any serious harm, and should be able to return home on Monday.

His agent Rob Jansen meanwhile told NOS that Koeman did not feel well after cycling and felt chest pains before being rushed to hospital.

As a player, Koeman gained a reputation as a powerful centre-back who was also capable of scoring goals, with a fearsome long range shot and ability from free-kicks and penalties.

He was part of the Dutch side who triumphed at Euro 88, as well as two European Cups at club level - with PSV Eindhoven in 1988, and Barcelona in 1992. He won four successive La Liga titles with Barca between 1991 and 1994, as well as three Eredivisie crowns with PSV and a further Dutch title with Ajax.

Koeman scored a remarkable 193 goals in 535 club appearances, and also earned 78 caps for the Netherlands, finding the net 14 times at international level.

After moving into management, he has won a further three Eredivisie titles - with Ajax in 2002 and 2004, and with PSV in 2007 - as well as the 2008 Copa del Rey with Valencia. He has also coached Benfica, AZ and Feyenoord, before working in English football for three years with Southampton and Everton.

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