Emotional farewell to Circle goalkeeper Miguel Van Dam: No one will ever wear the number 16 again | foreign football

videoIn and around Jabbeke’s Sint-Blasiuskerk Stadium, fans and colleagues gathered for the funeral of Cercle Brugge goalkeeper Miguel Van Damme, 28, who died of leukemia this week. A large screen was installed outside the church, where an estimated 1,500 people watched the concert. There was calm when the relatives of the relatives rang out. I will always keep your last text message: ‘Goodnight Mom. I love you’.


Matthias Marin


Last updated:
02-04-22, 21:04

Miguel Van Damme’s struggle has moved far beyond the sports world in recent years. In addition to the big names from the world of football, a lot of “ordinary” fans and sympathizers gathered in Jabbeke. In order to allow them to say goodbye in peace, the municipality of Jabbeke closed off the streets adjacent to Sint-Blasiuskerk.

In the church itself, which was quickly packed, Van Damme’s teammates in the Circle Bruges were also present. Vincent Mannert of Club Brugge and Peter Verbeke of Anderlecht, as well as Flemish Minister Ben Waits, were also present. “A salute to a great athlete, both on and off the field,” the latter replied succinctly. An example for young people. Miguel was one of the best athletes.”

© Matthias Marin

The farewell to the best athlete by Phil Collins began with “You’ll be in my heart,” followed by Frank Vanderlinden of De Mens, with “It’s not that bad.” The first tears flowed outside.

“We find it very difficult to understand, let alone accept, his death,” the pastor said. “But we are grateful for these beautiful moments.” But it was the words of the wife Kiana, who brought her daughter Camille with her, that passed through the marrow.

“I don’t know where to start,” Kiana said. ,,, We got to know each other in 2014. It immediately turns out that you have a heart of gold. Over time, she became more beautiful. Everything was fine. We complemented each other like no one else did. A year later we decided to rent an apartment in Ostkamp. We bought a house a year later. Unfortunately, we didn’t stay on our pink cloud. A very black cloud came up. On June 22, 2016, the verdict was passed: cancer, leukemia.”

Kiana's wife.
Kiana’s wife. © Penny Brut

We gathered all our courage and fought together for six years. In 2018, we became husband and wife. Once again we had to deal with some setbacks. But on May 21, 2021, our dream came true: we became the proud mom and dad of Camille. You fought for a long time, but you ran out. I am so proud of the way we all went through it. I can only support you. I promise you to take good care of Camille. Rest in peace now, my love. I’d love to see you.”

Miguel’s aunt also read a letter on his mother’s behalf. Our parties will never be the same again. Bowling and golfing by the sea… I was always a winner. I was always an optimist, a special boy to me. You made a serious impression on everyone. No more texting from now on. How would I miss that. I will always save your last text message: “Goodnight Mom. I love you. Why? But why? I love you. Kiss Mom.”

Circle supporters.
Circle supporters. © Matthias Marin

Long live Miguel

Eric Goins, who directed the documentary “Miguel,” recalled that period. “Sometimes I didn’t dare ask what it was like. Then I’d say, ‘Don’t things go well with Circle?'” And then there were a few mockery back and forth. Football humor…”

Goins concluded, “I know they love closing in on the ‘Long Live Cercle.'” I’d like to conclude with ‘Long live Miguel.’ Because if we all enjoyed life in half, we would have enjoyed less than Miguel.”

This was followed by another emotional moment when some images from Goins’ documentary were shown.

Cercle Brugge players team in the church.
Cercle Brugge players team in the church. © Matthias Marin

“You were Foolishalways positive,” Charles Vanhout of Circle described his teammate in tears. And as a player you’d rather have him on your team than be with your opponent. Who – that smiley…always makes me feel happy when I think about it. You immediately took me under your wing when you came to the team as a young man. No one will be allowed to wear your number 16 again.”

Arrival of Christoph Dehaene, captain of KV Kortrijk.
Arrival of Christoph Dehaene, captain of KV Kortrijk. © Matthias Marin

Bosom friend Thibaut Van Acker spoke about Miguel’s world match against Antwerp. And about the bachelorette party. “I will cherish all our memories. Now read this letter you wrote with a smile and tears. I promise I will be there for Kiana, Camille and your family, brother.”

To the tunes of “Papa” by Steve Bose, more than a thousand people gathered outside to chant their last greetings. On the coffin itself, mourners could write a final message. Then it was carried out to loud applause.

on ringtones
To the tunes of “Papa” by Steve Boss, people line up to finally say goodbye to Van Damme. © Matthias Marin

Miguel prayer card.
Miguel prayer card. © Matthias Marin

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