Former Watford and Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia has been forced to retire from football due to a heart condition

Almunia forced to retire due to heart problem

Almunia forced to retire due to heart problem

First published in Sport by

Former Hornets goalkeeper Manuel Almunia has been forced to retire from professional football due to a heart problem.

The Spaniard, who was released by Watford at the end of last season, was set to sign a contract with Italian club Cagliari but doctors discovered a cardiac issue during his medical which has ended the 37-year-old's career. 

Cagliari president Tommaso Giulini told calcionews24.com: "He has been diagnosed with Apical Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.

"It was first picked up at Cagliari and then confirmed in Padua, where the player had a scan. It can be dangerous and can cause sudden death."

Apical Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart tissue that can cause it to thicken which can lead to, especially for sportsmen, Sudden Cardiac Death.

Almunia joined the Hornets in 2012 after spending eight years with Premier League side Arsenal.

He went on to make 81 appearances for the Hornets and was named club captain at the start of the 2013/2014 season.

However, he left Vicarage Road at the end of that campaign after his contract with the Golden Boys expired.

While there has been no official comment from Almunia, the The Professional Footballers' Association tweeted: "Manuel Almunia has had to retire after being diagnosed with a heart condition. All at the PFA wish him well for the future." 

Comments (37)

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11:59am Thu 28 Aug 14

DuncanWelbourne'sshinpad says...

All Watford fans will wish him a full and healthy retirement. We will never forget that penalty save against Leicester.

Adios y muchas Gracias
All Watford fans will wish him a full and healthy retirement. We will never forget that penalty save against Leicester. Adios y muchas Gracias DuncanWelbourne'sshinpad
  • Score: 116

12:00pm Thu 28 Aug 14

mkhornet says...

So sorry to hear this news but thank goodness it was picked up in the medical. I'd like to wish Manuel all the best for the future and say thank you for all you did for Watford FC. You'll always be guaranteed a great reception at "The Vic". Your penalty saves against Leicester in the play off semi final are now part of Watford FC folklore.
So sorry to hear this news but thank goodness it was picked up in the medical. I'd like to wish Manuel all the best for the future and say thank you for all you did for Watford FC. You'll always be guaranteed a great reception at "The Vic". Your penalty saves against Leicester in the play off semi final are now part of Watford FC folklore. mkhornet
  • Score: 76

12:01pm Thu 28 Aug 14

gloryhornet4 says...

Saw the sad news on Tuesday.

All the best for the future Manuel and thanks for the memories.

You will be remembered in perpetuity for Almunia to Cassetti to Anya to Forestieri to Hogg to Deeney 3-1.

Thanks for putting the cheating little Frenchman in his place on that wonderful day.
Saw the sad news on Tuesday. All the best for the future Manuel and thanks for the memories. You will be remembered in perpetuity for Almunia to Cassetti to Anya to Forestieri to Hogg to Deeney 3-1. Thanks for putting the cheating little Frenchman in his place on that wonderful day. gloryhornet4
  • Score: 85

12:05pm Thu 28 Aug 14

jasonwatford says...

Welcome to my home anytime let alone Vicarage Road , God bless you and enjoy your retirement.
Welcome to my home anytime let alone Vicarage Road , God bless you and enjoy your retirement. jasonwatford
  • Score: 41

12:10pm Thu 28 Aug 14

llloydwithathirdl says...

Made arguably the most memorable save in the club's history.

Glad his problem has been found and hope it can be treated.

Would love to see him back at The Vic one day, even if it's just picking the numbers for the 50 50 draw.
Made arguably the most memorable save in the club's history. Glad his problem has been found and hope it can be treated. Would love to see him back at The Vic one day, even if it's just picking the numbers for the 50 50 draw. llloydwithathirdl
  • Score: 42

12:14pm Thu 28 Aug 14

Gryiox says...

A great footballer and more importantly a great bloke. Thanks for making Watford vs Leicester a memory that will long live with me. Have a happy and healthy retirement. All the best,

A hornet
A great footballer and more importantly a great bloke. Thanks for making Watford vs Leicester a memory that will long live with me. Have a happy and healthy retirement. All the best, A hornet Gryiox
  • Score: 41

12:49pm Thu 28 Aug 14

Watfordwes says...

Thank god we released him or he would never have had the medical that discover it.

Thanks for the glorious day in the sun your double save contributed to!
Thank god we released him or he would never have had the medical that discover it. Thanks for the glorious day in the sun your double save contributed to! Watfordwes
  • Score: 29

12:52pm Thu 28 Aug 14

Andrew1963 says...

Thank goodness this condition never resulted in tragic consequences as it did for an outfield player. Best wishes for a long and happy retirement from playing,
Thank goodness this condition never resulted in tragic consequences as it did for an outfield player. Best wishes for a long and happy retirement from playing, Andrew1963
  • Score: 24

1:00pm Thu 28 Aug 14

Hornets number 12 fan says...

Muchas Gracias Manuel for your time at Watford and Hoping you have a happy and healthy life from now on
Muchas Gracias Manuel for your time at Watford and Hoping you have a happy and healthy life from now on Hornets number 12 fan
  • Score: 22

1:24pm Thu 28 Aug 14

charliefarmery says...

Dear Mr Pozzo, could we organise a benefit match at some point in the future against Arsenal. This would seem to me to be an appropriate tribute to Manuel Almunia for his services to the two clubs....
Dear Mr Pozzo, could we organise a benefit match at some point in the future against Arsenal. This would seem to me to be an appropriate tribute to Manuel Almunia for his services to the two clubs.... charliefarmery
  • Score: 81

1:29pm Thu 28 Aug 14

#luvreadingthesamemuppetscommentingasexperts says...

Have the pleasure of knowing Manuel, a fantastic person who would make a great coach or ambassador for the club, should he so wish to remain in football, he recieved unnecessary stick from certain sections last year it was obvious to anyone who new him things weren't 100% but he never once complained or shirked away from giving his all for the club on and off the pitch..........
Have the pleasure of knowing Manuel, a fantastic person who would make a great coach or ambassador for the club, should he so wish to remain in football, he recieved unnecessary stick from certain sections last year it was obvious to anyone who new him things weren't 100% but he never once complained or shirked away from giving his all for the club on and off the pitch.......... #luvreadingthesamemuppetscommentingasexperts
  • Score: 23

1:35pm Thu 28 Aug 14

soulfulhornet says...

Manuel, thank you for your contribution over the past couple of years - and who will forget that penalty save and the 10 seconds that followed it.

Hope that you are able to resolve the heart problem and that you live a long, happy and prosperous life.

Wishing you well and thank you.
Manuel, thank you for your contribution over the past couple of years - and who will forget that penalty save and the 10 seconds that followed it. Hope that you are able to resolve the heart problem and that you live a long, happy and prosperous life. Wishing you well and thank you. soulfulhornet
  • Score: 19

1:44pm Thu 28 Aug 14

rousman 2 says...

charliefarmery wrote:
Dear Mr Pozzo, could we organise a benefit match at some point in the future against Arsenal. This would seem to me to be an appropriate tribute to Manuel Almunia for his services to the two clubs....
Good shout mate, why not.
[quote][p][bold]charliefarmery[/bold] wrote: Dear Mr Pozzo, could we organise a benefit match at some point in the future against Arsenal. This would seem to me to be an appropriate tribute to Manuel Almunia for his services to the two clubs....[/p][/quote]Good shout mate, why not. rousman 2
  • Score: 21

1:55pm Thu 28 Aug 14

bristol hornet says...

jasonwatford wrote:
Welcome to my home anytime let alone Vicarage Road , God bless you and enjoy your retirement.
Well said Jason!

God Bless you indeed Manuel, and also for a long and happy retirement.

The memories will live on!
[quote][p][bold]jasonwatford[/bold] wrote: Welcome to my home anytime let alone Vicarage Road , God bless you and enjoy your retirement.[/p][/quote]Well said Jason! God Bless you indeed Manuel, and also for a long and happy retirement. The memories will live on! bristol hornet
  • Score: 12

1:56pm Thu 28 Aug 14

Stoney77 says...

Knockaert takes, Alumnia Saves, Knockaert follows up ALMUNIA SAVES AGAIN!.... ...
.....We all know the rest :O)
Thanks Manuel, not just for THAT moment but for 2 years of being a solid pro. I am sure Bondy learnt alot from the experience you passed on to him.
All the best
Knockaert takes, Alumnia Saves, Knockaert follows up ALMUNIA SAVES AGAIN!.... ... .....We all know the rest :O) Thanks Manuel, not just for THAT moment but for 2 years of being a solid pro. I am sure Bondy learnt alot from the experience you passed on to him. All the best Stoney77
  • Score: 17

2:19pm Thu 28 Aug 14

Mickey Quinn, not so thin says...

Ironically how lucky was he, with hindsight, that it wasn't picked up 20 years ago. Would probably have been denied a fabulous career ! But as said above, he's very lucky to have had the medical now at the end of his career to make him aware so he can now deal with it and take care of himself.
Ironically how lucky was he, with hindsight, that it wasn't picked up 20 years ago. Would probably have been denied a fabulous career ! But as said above, he's very lucky to have had the medical now at the end of his career to make him aware so he can now deal with it and take care of himself. Mickey Quinn, not so thin
  • Score: 13

2:50pm Thu 28 Aug 14

Hampshire hornet says...

#luvreadingthesamemu
ppetscommentingasexp
erts
wrote:
Have the pleasure of knowing Manuel, a fantastic person who would make a great coach or ambassador for the club, should he so wish to remain in football, he recieved unnecessary stick from certain sections last year it was obvious to anyone who new him things weren't 100% but he never once complained or shirked away from giving his all for the club on and off the pitch..........
Absolutely agree.. He was highly valued by us and contributed to possibly our greatest moment at the Vic".. Thought coach ... Not sure he could though due to his condition... Thank God he managed to go through his career without any issues"
[quote][p][bold]#luvreadingthesamemu ppetscommentingasexp erts[/bold] wrote: Have the pleasure of knowing Manuel, a fantastic person who would make a great coach or ambassador for the club, should he so wish to remain in football, he recieved unnecessary stick from certain sections last year it was obvious to anyone who new him things weren't 100% but he never once complained or shirked away from giving his all for the club on and off the pitch..........[/p][/quote]Absolutely agree.. He was highly valued by us and contributed to possibly our greatest moment at the Vic".. Thought coach ... Not sure he could though due to his condition... Thank God he managed to go through his career without any issues" Hampshire hornet
  • Score: 10

2:51pm Thu 28 Aug 14

LutonHornet says...

Good Luck Manny. I hope they can fix the problem. I agree with charliefarmery, a benefit would be a great idea.
Good Luck Manny. I hope they can fix the problem. I agree with charliefarmery, a benefit would be a great idea. LutonHornet
  • Score: 10

2:51pm Thu 28 Aug 14

mooneysmagic says...

Doesn't say a lot for Watford's medical team. Surely players have annual medical check ups.
Doesn't say a lot for Watford's medical team. Surely players have annual medical check ups. mooneysmagic
  • Score: -12

3:17pm Thu 28 Aug 14

Bush Hornet says...

Great keeper, lovely guy. All the best
Great keeper, lovely guy. All the best Bush Hornet
  • Score: 8

4:31pm Thu 28 Aug 14

andyhooked says...

Mooneysmagic has hit the nail on the head. Why the heck are we playing medicals so much dosh when it comes out that a possible buying club identifies a serious heart problem? Take care Manu!!
Mooneysmagic has hit the nail on the head. Why the heck are we playing medicals so much dosh when it comes out that a possible buying club identifies a serious heart problem? Take care Manu!! andyhooked
  • Score: 3

5:37pm Thu 28 Aug 14

Paul Gadd says...

Jennings, Coton, James, Chamberlain.......an
d now Manu- another hornet goalkeeping great
Thanks for the memories......like others have said- that double save v knockfart ensures you will always be a watford star

COYH!
Jennings, Coton, James, Chamberlain.......an d now Manu- another hornet goalkeeping great Thanks for the memories......like others have said- that double save v knockfart ensures you will always be a watford star COYH! Paul Gadd
  • Score: 6

5:53pm Thu 28 Aug 14

HorshamHornet says...

What can you say, when all before me have said it already.

Thanks for the one of the best moments, being a Watford fan
What can you say, when all before me have said it already. Thanks for the one of the best moments, being a Watford fan HorshamHornet
  • Score: 5

5:59pm Thu 28 Aug 14

HorshamHornet says...

All the best for the future
All the best for the future HorshamHornet
  • Score: 6

6:45pm Thu 28 Aug 14

jimbowfc says...

Sorry to hear of Manus illness, but glad it has been picked up before it was too late! Thanks for your service to WFC Manu and I hope you have a long and fruitful life ahead of you, good luck!
Sorry to hear of Manus illness, but glad it has been picked up before it was too late! Thanks for your service to WFC Manu and I hope you have a long and fruitful life ahead of you, good luck! jimbowfc
  • Score: 4

7:26pm Thu 28 Aug 14

KeithMercer says...

Good Luck Manu ! thanks for the memories and would be good to see you back on the coaching staff.
Good Luck Manu ! thanks for the memories and would be good to see you back on the coaching staff. KeithMercer
  • Score: 3

7:37pm Thu 28 Aug 14

gloryhornet4 says...

mooneysmagic wrote:
Doesn't say a lot for Watford's medical team. Surely players have annual medical check ups.
MM

A medical is not a full body MRI scan - sometimes they pick up latent problems, sometimes they don't.

Top flight clubs are now expected to look for this problem - which killed Gabby Logan's 15 y/o brother Daniel Yorath who died in his own back garden playing football with his dad Terry.
[quote][p][bold]mooneysmagic[/bold] wrote: Doesn't say a lot for Watford's medical team. Surely players have annual medical check ups.[/p][/quote]MM A medical is not a full body MRI scan - sometimes they pick up latent problems, sometimes they don't. Top flight clubs are now expected to look for this problem - which killed Gabby Logan's 15 y/o brother Daniel Yorath who died in his own back garden playing football with his dad Terry. gloryhornet4
  • Score: 9

7:54pm Thu 28 Aug 14

Dunderdale Pinner says...

Not all that easy to pick up. I have it. Keep taking the tablets and you should be fine. Thanks for the memories. I endorse earlier posts re. Match against the gunners. Good luck and long and happy retirement.
Not all that easy to pick up. I have it. Keep taking the tablets and you should be fine. Thanks for the memories. I endorse earlier posts re. Match against the gunners. Good luck and long and happy retirement. Dunderdale Pinner
  • Score: 6

10:44pm Thu 28 Aug 14

crtredwell says...

I was sad to hear the about Almunia Heart problem and glad it
was picked up before any major problems
I had a double bypass operation at the beginning of 2013 and came
through it OK an fully know how it can affect you
Thank you for your Contribution to Watford FC and that fantastic
game against Leicester which will never be forgotten
Lets hope we can have Friendly Watford V Arsenal in the near
future and have you as Honorary Guest
All the very best for you and Your Family and hope you have a long
healthy Life
I was sad to hear the about Almunia Heart problem and glad it was picked up before any major problems I had a double bypass operation at the beginning of 2013 and came through it OK an fully know how it can affect you Thank you for your Contribution to Watford FC and that fantastic game against Leicester which will never be forgotten Lets hope we can have Friendly Watford V Arsenal in the near future and have you as Honorary Guest All the very best for you and Your Family and hope you have a long healthy Life crtredwell
  • Score: 4

11:19pm Thu 28 Aug 14

SamTheEagle says...

Stoney77 wrote:
Knockaert takes, Alumnia Saves, Knockaert follows up ALMUNIA SAVES AGAIN!.... ...
.....We all know the rest :O)
Thanks Manuel, not just for THAT moment but for 2 years of being a solid pro. I am sure Bondy learnt alot from the experience you passed on to him.
All the best
Read what you wrote Stoney77 and went cold. Often play 'that' clip and shiver every time.
[quote][p][bold]Stoney77[/bold] wrote: Knockaert takes, Alumnia Saves, Knockaert follows up ALMUNIA SAVES AGAIN!.... ... .....We all know the rest :O) Thanks Manuel, not just for THAT moment but for 2 years of being a solid pro. I am sure Bondy learnt alot from the experience you passed on to him. All the best[/p][/quote]Read what you wrote Stoney77 and went cold. Often play 'that' clip and shiver every time. SamTheEagle
  • Score: 1

2:11am Fri 29 Aug 14

PozzoHornet says...

gloryhornet4 wrote:
mooneysmagic wrote:
Doesn't say a lot for Watford's medical team. Surely players have annual medical check ups.
MM

A medical is not a full body MRI scan - sometimes they pick up latent problems, sometimes they don't.

Top flight clubs are now expected to look for this problem - which killed Gabby Logan's 15 y/o brother Daniel Yorath who died in his own back garden playing football with his dad Terry.
Not to nitpick, but an MRI wouldn't detect this condition anyway. MRI uses magnetism, whilst Wiki says an echocardiogram, which uses ultrasound, is used to detect this condition. Also there can be no more blame attached to our medical team as there can to Arsenal's. It would appear that the only reason it was picked up is because giving players echocardiograms in medicals has been standard practice in Italy since the 70s - specifically to lower the number of deaths from this condition. Lucky he was going to join Cagliari, as if he'd joined someone in Spain, they probably wouldn't have picked it up.
[quote][p][bold]gloryhornet4[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]mooneysmagic[/bold] wrote: Doesn't say a lot for Watford's medical team. Surely players have annual medical check ups.[/p][/quote]MM A medical is not a full body MRI scan - sometimes they pick up latent problems, sometimes they don't. Top flight clubs are now expected to look for this problem - which killed Gabby Logan's 15 y/o brother Daniel Yorath who died in his own back garden playing football with his dad Terry.[/p][/quote]Not to nitpick, but an MRI wouldn't detect this condition anyway. MRI uses magnetism, whilst Wiki says an echocardiogram, which uses ultrasound, is used to detect this condition. Also there can be no more blame attached to our medical team as there can to Arsenal's. It would appear that the only reason it was picked up is because giving players echocardiograms in medicals has been standard practice in Italy since the 70s - specifically to lower the number of deaths from this condition. Lucky he was going to join Cagliari, as if he'd joined someone in Spain, they probably wouldn't have picked it up. PozzoHornet
  • Score: 2

7:31am Fri 29 Aug 14

robo bovingdon says...

Thank god this was pickede up early enjoy your life and thanks for your time at the VIC always remember Leicester and Wembley
Thank god this was pickede up early enjoy your life and thanks for your time at the VIC always remember Leicester and Wembley robo bovingdon
  • Score: 1

10:25am Fri 29 Aug 14

Eastmid Horn says...

rousman 2 says...


charliefarmery wrote:
Dear Mr Pozzo, could we organise a benefit match at some point in the future against Arsenal. This would seem to me to be an appropriate tribute to Manuel Almunia for his services to the two clubs....
Good shout mate, why not.
rousman 2 says... charliefarmery wrote: Dear Mr Pozzo, could we organise a benefit match at some point in the future against Arsenal. This would seem to me to be an appropriate tribute to Manuel Almunia for his services to the two clubs.... Good shout mate, why not. Eastmid Horn
  • Score: 3

10:28am Fri 29 Aug 14

Eastmid Horn says...

rousman 2 says...


charliefarmery wrote:
Dear Mr Pozzo, could we organise a benefit match at some point in the future against Arsenal. This would seem to me to be an appropriate tribute to Manuel Almunia for his services to the two clubs....
Good shout mate, why not.

And he can play one half for us and one half for Arsenal...fitting in the circumstances.
Thanks Manuel for everything you done at WFC and all the best for the future...COYH !
rousman 2 says... charliefarmery wrote: Dear Mr Pozzo, could we organise a benefit match at some point in the future against Arsenal. This would seem to me to be an appropriate tribute to Manuel Almunia for his services to the two clubs.... Good shout mate, why not. And he can play one half for us and one half for Arsenal...fitting in the circumstances. Thanks Manuel for everything you done at WFC and all the best for the future...COYH ! Eastmid Horn
  • Score: 0

4:29pm Fri 29 Aug 14

ORBY says...

Agree with all of the above sentiment.. Thank goodness it was picked up when it was. Live long and prosper Manu.
Agree with all of the above sentiment.. Thank goodness it was picked up when it was. Live long and prosper Manu. ORBY
  • Score: 0

1:44pm Sat 30 Aug 14

Chris the Vic says...

Suffice it to say you played well for us, shouted clearly, led by example and fully deserve all the praise going.

You replace loach and showed us true professionalism. If their was a benefit match I and my family would buy tickets to honour a top pro and thank heavens the problem was spotted.
Suffice it to say you played well for us, shouted clearly, led by example and fully deserve all the praise going. You replace loach and showed us true professionalism. If their was a benefit match I and my family would buy tickets to honour a top pro and thank heavens the problem was spotted. Chris the Vic
  • Score: 0

12:32am Sun 31 Aug 14

worthinghornet says...

Legend
Legend worthinghornet
  • Score: 0

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