Ex-Uruguay star Fabian O’Neill, hailed by Zidane as one of ‘most talented player sever’, dies at 49

Former Uruguay and Cagliari defender Fabian O’Neill, who was once hailed by Zinedine Zidane as one of the ‘most talented players’ he’d ever seen, dies at the age of 49 after battle with chronic liver disease

  • Fabian O’Neill died at the age of 49 after a battle with chronic liver disease
  • The former Cagliari and Juventus defender was admitted to hospital on Saturday
  • He earned 19 caps for Uruguay and was in attendance at the 2002 World Cup
  • He made his senior club debut for Nacional in 1996 before moving to Cagliari

Former Uruguay and Cagliari defender Fabian O’Neill has died at the age of 49 after a battle with chronic liver disease.

According to the Uruguayan Football Federation, O’Neill, who earned 19 caps for the national side, was admitted to hospital on Saturday in a coma after suffering a hemorrhage.

The South American, who was once hailed by football icon Zinedine Zidane as one of the most ‘talented players’ he had seen, had struggled with alcoholism in the past.

Ex-Uruguay star Fabian O'Neill (right) has died at 49 after a battle with chronic liver disease

Ex-Uruguay star Fabian O’Neill (right) has died at 49 after a battle with chronic liver disease

After making his senior debut for Club Nacional in 1996 at the mere age of 18, the defender moved to Italy to play for Cagliari.

He went on to spend three seasons at the club, scoring 16 goals across 136 games, before moving to Juventus in 2000 and winning the Serie A title with the Old Lady.

After playing 20 times for Juve, O’Neill left to join Perugia before returning back to Cagliari in 2002.

O'Neill played 19 times for Uruguay and was part of their 2002 World Cup squad

O’Neill played 19 times for Uruguay and was part of their 2002 World Cup squad

The defender also traveled to South Korea and Japan as part of Uruguay’s World Cup squad in 2002, although he did not make an appearance at the tournament.

He stayed in Italy for one more year before returning back to Uruguay to play for Nacional, where he retired in 2003.

Tributes have been flooding in for the defender, with Uruguayan news outlet, El Pais writing: ‘Uruguayan football is in mourning.

‘One of the best players to emerge in recent decades and who knew how to shine on the field with his talent and magic has left us.’

His former club Cagliari also took to Twitter to pay tribute to the defender: ‘Proud to have been able to admire your genius up close: pure, crystalline, like the most precious diamonds.

‘You made us fall in love with your class, Cagliari has never stopped loving its Wizard with the No.10 on his shoulders.’

The defender (R) would go on to play in Italy for most of his career with Cagliari and Juventus

The defender (R) would go on to play in Italy for most of his career with Cagliari and Juventus

advertisement

.

Leave a Comment