Omar Elabdellaoui: Former Man City defender makes return more than a year after being left clinically blind | Football News

Former Manchester City and Hull right-back Omar Elabdellaoui has made a remarkable return to football more than a year after being left clinically blind when a firework exploded in his face.

Elabdellaoui’s accident occurred on New Year’s Eve in 2020 and left him wondering whether he would ever be able to see again, let alone resume his playing career.

But following 11 surgeries – including an ocular stem cell transplant from his sister, Ikram – the 30-year-old finally returned on Monday, playing all 90 minutes for Galatasaray as they picked up their first win of 2022 away to Goztepe in the Turkish Super Lig.

Elabdellaoui told beIN SPORTS after the game: “I went through a difficult process. It was a difficult injury. I struggled a lot.

“I’m back on the field and doing what I love most. It’s my dream come true for the second time. It felt like I started football for the second time.”

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - JULY 09: Players of Galatasaray attend a training session at Florya Metin Oktay Facilities within the new season preparations in Istanbul, Turkey on July 09, 2021. Galatasaray & # 39 ;s Norwegian player Omar Elabdellaoui, who was injured in his eyes due to a firework accident on New Year & # 39 ;s Eve, also participated in the training.  (Photo by Emrah Yorulmaz / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Elabdellaoui wears an eye patch and glasses during a Galatasaray training session last year

Elabdellaoui spent a large amount of time in the US receiving treatment, although his doctor there gave him just a 5-10 per cent chance of regaining his sight.

The Norway international maintained his fitness during his absence by working under a trainer from NFL side the Cincinnati Bengals, who reached the Super Bowl earlier this month.

Galatasaray, who signed Elabdellaoui from Olympiacos in August 2020, paid for his treatment, and he is now able to represent the 22-time Turkish champions once again, albeit while wearing specially fitted glasses when on the field.

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