Belfast Telegraph

Ex-Glens ace Nacho Novo out of intensive care after his heart attack

By Victoria Leonard

Ex-Glentoran striker Nacho Novo is "sitting up and talking" in hospital in Berlin after undergoing surgery to repair an artery, his ex-manager has said.

The 38-year-old Spaniard, who played for the east Belfast club last season, suffered a heart attack and was rushed to hospital on Saturday after playing in two matches with other former Rangers stars.

Novo's old agent Bill Peden said he had been moved out of the intensive care unit and was looking forward to getting home.

He said: "Nacho is conscious and sitting up talking.

"They have repaired the artery and are very happy with the way it has gone.

"He is looking forward to being able to get back to Glasgow, but the doctors haven't yet said when he will be able to travel."

Novo was a popular figure during his time in Belfast, supporting local charities such as SOS, which organised a 2016 Christmas visit to give presents to kids in Belfast's Royal Hospital for Sick Children.

After news of the heart attack broke, Novo was targeted by some trolls on social media.

Mr Peden said that they were "not worthy of a comment".

"The people who matter to Nacho are the Rangers fans, not anybody else," he said.

Yesterday the player's girlfriend Stephanie Heaney confirmed that he was out of intensive care and stable.

"I'm so grateful to everyone for the support," the model said on social media.

"This has been such a shocking and stressful time, he's getting the best care and treatment possible and he's overwhelmed with the messages of support.

"He needs lots of rest and I am hoping next week I will have him home safe and sound.

"Nacho's sitting up next to me eating some lunch and will start physiotherapy tomorrow to get him nice and strong again.

"I am so proud of how brave and amazing a man he is, and I'm so unbelievably blessed to have him."

She added: "The fans have just went above and beyond with encouragement for him and well-wishes from both Celtic and Rangers fans are so appreciated."

In an online statement, Rangers Football Club wrote: "Everyone at the club wishes Nacho a speedy recovery."

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