Arthur Numan has paid an emotional tribute to former Rangers and Holland team-mate Fernando Ricksen after the former Rangers captain died following a long battle with Motor Neurone Disease.
Rangers confirmed the 43-year-old had passed away in a statement released on the club website earlier and Numan admitted that he will “treasure the good moments” he shared with Ricksen.
Numan told how the former AZ Alkmaar, Zenit and Fortuna Sittard star treated every game like a Champions League final as he reflected on his friend’s arrival at Ibrox in 2000.
“On the park he was a captain, he always gave 110 per cent for the jersey and if you look back at Ricksen’s time in Scotland they will think of someone who gives everything for the jersey,” Numan told TalkSport, as quoted by the Daily Record.
“I try to treasure the good moments with him and the crazy moments and it’s sad that he passed away but I treasure those moments.
“As a right full-back he was a winner, everything for the result and I still remember when he signed for Rangers I went to see him and said ‘Fernando, you have to calm down’ because even in training he thought it was a Champions League final. He was always alive and kicking on the park. He would tackle everyone and you had to say calm down. That was his character.
“He wanted to show he was a winner and someone who would give everything for him the result. It’s sad he won’t be here anymore.”
Ricksen’s place in Ibrox immortality was ensured when he captained the side to a breathtaking title triumph on the final day of the 2004/05 season as the Gers lifted the Scottish Premiership title despite starting the day two points behind bitter rivals Celtic.
Since announcing he had been diagnosed with MND in 2013, Ricksen has led a huge campaign raising awareness and funds for various charities with support coming from across his former clubs and beyond.
With the Gers facing Feyenoord on Thursday in the Europa League, there could be few more fitting opponents than one from Ricksen’s home country in their first game after his death.