BARCELONA (Reuters) - Former Barcelona assistant coach Juan Carlos Unzue has announced he has the rare neurological disorder amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as ALS.
Speaking at a news conference at Barca’s Camp Nou stadium on Thursday, Unzue, 53, revealed he had been diagnosed with the ultra-rare neurodegenerative disorder, which causes the death of neurons controlling voluntary muscles, in February.
There is currently no cure for ALS and Unzue said he wished to raise more awareness of the disease.
“I insist I am coping well, I feel privileged to be able to have lived the life I have and now I feel privileged about what I will be able to do about ALS, which is a disease that anyone can get,” he said.
The conference was presented by Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu and attended by Spain coach Luis Enrique, Unzue’s boss for three years at Barca and with whom he won nine trophies between 2014 and 2017, including the 2015 Champions League.
A former goalkeeper for Barca and Sevilla and the brother of Movistar cycling team owner Eusebio, Unzue was head coach for Celta for one season and spent three months in charge of second-division Girona before being sacked last October.
Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Christian Radnedge