LONDON • Former France winger David Ginola is reported to be recovering after coming through a five-hour quadruple heart bypass operation in the early hours of yesterday morning.
According to French newspaper Nice-Matin, he was operated on after being taken to a Monaco hospital by helicopter "in a catastrophic state" after collapsing during a football match on the French Riviera on Thursday.
"Always be careful, the next few hours will be critical, but the operation went well and, given his age, there is hope," said a source.
Professor Gilles Dreyfus, who performed the operation, added: "He's knocked out and does not remember anything, but it goes well, I could talk with him."
An update was published on Ginola's Twitter account later to dismiss concerns over his health.
"Hello world, never slept better. I'm fine, just need to rest a bit. Thank you so much all of you for your magnificent support," it read.
The 49-year-old fell to the ground at the home of the tournament organiser in Mandelieu and was "unconscious but stable" when he was air-lifted to a cardiothoracic unit in the nearby principality.
After his collapse, a tweet had been posted on his Twitter feed.
"Footy match in the midday sun, not very clever. Now having some tests done," it read. "Whoever voted for a World Cup in Qatar in the summer?"
However, journalist Jean Philippe Lustyk claimed that the tweet had been sent by Ginola's agent.
"He is in a stationary state. He is in a coma," he said. "There was a cardiac arrest, he had a heart attack on the pitch. He fell in front of us."
A cult figure at Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur because of his flamboyant skill, Ginola also played for Paris Saint-Germain, Aston Villa and Everton before retiring in 2002. He won 17 caps for France.