New Manchester United signing Donny van de Beek has revealed why he has chosen to wear No. 34 following his big move from Ajax Amsterdam.
The midfielder completed his €39 million (R773 million) switch from the Dutch giants to the Red Devils on Wednesday, leaving Ajax after 13 years, many of which were spent in the club's development system with Abdelhak Nouri, who tragically suffered a heart attack in 2017.
Nouri returned home to his family earlier this year, but sadly has permanent brain damage, with many of his former teammates still in touch with his loved ones.
Van de Beek has now revealed that he chose to wear the No. 34 shirt at United in honour of his friend Nouri, who wore the number at Ajax.
"This is a special thing for me because of my good friend Abdelhak Nouri," he told the club's official website.
"He had a heart attack. I'm really close with his family and his brother is one of my best friends and I talk a lot with them.
"So, I decided to take his old number on my shirt, and I want to get good memories with this number."
Nouri's father Mohammed revealed in an interview that Van de Beek called him ahead of his decision, and said his son was very emotional to hear his ex-teammate's voice.
"Donny called me. He asked if I was okay with him playing with No. 34. And I said he should. I can only be proud of that. It's a nice gesture, very special for us," he told NOS.
"When he (Abdelhak) hears Donny's name or voice, his eyes widen and he immediately looks up. He was also emotional, you could see that immediately.
"You can see it in his facial expression. But so do we. We are happy and emotional at the same time. Everything comes up. Donny and Abdelhak are bosom friends. It is real friendship."
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