- Associated Press - Friday, May 20, 2016

PARIS (AP) - The surgeon who operated on David Ginola said the former France winger “almost died” after having a heart attack while playing soccer.

Professor Gilles Dreyfus told The Associated Press on Friday that Ginola was in good condition a day after undergoing a quadruple heart bypass operation and was expected to make a full recovery.

The 49-year-old Ginola was airlifted to the Monaco cardiothoracic center on Thursday after collapsing on the field in the Riviera town of Mandelieu. Dreyfus said he would remain in the hospital for about 10 days.

“He was incredibly lucky,” Dreyfus said in a phone interview. “He was fortunate to receive a heart massage immediately, and that was essential in preventing brain damage. Emergency services arrived on site eight minutes later. There is a set of factors that saved his life.”

Dreyfus said Ginola suffered the symptoms of a heart ventricular fibrillation and was diagnosed with “extremely severe lesions” when he arrived at the hospital.

The Monaco cardiothoracic center said in a statement that surgery lasted five hours.

Dreyfus, who also performed surgery on French actor Gerard Depardieu earlier in his career, said Ginola has regained consciousness and does not need any medication.

“He almost died but and will be able to lead a normal life,” he said.

Ginola, who was expected to work as a TV pundit during the European Championship next month before his heart attack, was in Mandelieu to play a golf tournament with other sports personalities. He was playing soccer when he was stricken.

Ginola, who last year failed to secure the required support in a bid for the FIFA presidency, also played for Newcastle, Paris Saint-Germain, Tottenham, Aston Villa and Everton.

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