10! 10! 10! Fabrice Muamba received top marks on Christmas Day for making another huge – and rather glittery – step in his recovery from the cardiac arrest he suffered on the pitch in March.
Just nine months on from being seconds from death and being told he can never play football again, the former Bolton defender showed his considerable athletic prowess and zest for life with an exemplary performance on Strictly Come Dancing.
The 24-year-old’s routine included offering his Cinderella-inspired co-dancer a football boot for size, knee-slides befitting of a passionate goal celebration and more hip-gyrations than a Shakira music video on constant loop – all delivered with Fabrice’s unmoveable trademark smile.
With Muamba making several high-profile appearances at half-times and award ceremonies, it’s clearly apparent that the former England Under-21 international has made a strong recovery, but this dance – as trivial as the programme may be for some – was something extra-special and inspiring to behold.
For all his speeches and moving gestures of thanks to those who saved his life, this was his first real chance to display his miraculous resurgence in a purely physical manner, to amplify the athleticism that had been so ruthlessly muted on that dark day at White Hart lane.
Speaking after the show – seen by over seven million viewers – Muamba said:
“I want to spread the word about cardiac arrest and show young people you can do anything you want, as long as you have the right people around you and the right mentality.
“I want to use what happened to me and turn it into something positive. You have to get up and go in life. Stopping football is not the end of the world.”