Spain and Seville left stunned by Puerta's death

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The Independent Online

Spanish football has been stunned by the death yesterday of Seville's 22-year-old midfielder Antonio Puerta, one of the country's most promising players.

The Spanish international collapsed after 35 minutes of the league match against Getafe on Saturday, but was able to walk off the pitch. He collapsed again in the dressing room and was taken to hospital where he remained in a critical condition.

Puerta died from postanoxic encephalopathy and multiple organ failure caused by prolonged cardiac arrest.

His body will be taken to the club's Sanchez Pizjuan stadium where fans will be able to pay their respects.

"He was a magnificent footballer and had a great sporting future," the former Seville coach Joaquin Caparros, now of Athletic Bilbao, said.

The pictures of Puerta's collapse were flashed around the country and his predicament has dominated the news. A stream of visitors visited Puerta yesterday before he passed away, including Real Betis players, Seville's city rivals, and former team-mates Sergio Ramos and Jose Antonio Reyes.

Seville's Champions League qualifying second leg tie at AEK Athens last night was postponed.

Puerta was a product of Seville's youth system, breaking into the side in 2004 season before becoming a regular the following year.

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