Mikel Arteta – I Was Born With A Serious Heart Issue That Would Have Prevented Me From Playing Football
Mikel Arteta, the Arsenal manager, has revealed how a heart issue he had as a baby could have prevented him from pursuing a career in soccer but for open heart surgery.
Earlier in his playing career, he played for two years at Scottish Premiership side Rangers before joining Real Sociedad in 2004.
But becoming a professional footballer was not always on the cards for the Spaniard, who was told by doctors at a young age he would not be able to do much exercise because of his heart condition.
In Arteta’s words, “I was born with a big heart issue that they could not resolve until I was two years old because I was too little.”
“They had to open my heart and go through it. It was one of the first surgeries that was done in that way in Spain, so we didn’t know how it was going to end up.
“I was a really lively kid, the doctor was telling my father and mother that he needs to calm down, that he’s not going to be able to do much exercise with that problem.”
Arteta was able to pursue his love of football thanks to the medical staff that performed his surgery 38 years ago, and he believes the process encouraged him to chase his dreams.
“Everything developed in a normal way and I was able to fulfill my dream to be a professional footballer,” he said.
Asked if the experience shaped him as a youngster, he said: “I think it did in a way.
“When I was younger, I was told you cannot do that, you cannot expose yourself so much, we cannot take you to the limit of your heart capacity.
“I was always pushing myself to the limit.
“The support from my parents was great and then they had the courage to look for the best possible specialist – and those specialists always had the courage to push those barriers a little bit further because they could see how important it was for me.”