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Fabrice Muamba collapses on pitch: Players, officials and fans in shock

We could not go on! Players, officials and fans in shock after Muamba collapses on pitch

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UPDATED:

10:51 GMT, 18 March 2012

World Cup referee Howard Webb abandoned Tottenham's FA Cup quarter-final against Bolton, saying the players 'could not go on' after Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch with a suspected heart attack.

White Hart Lane was stunned into an eerie silence as players, club officials and fans feared for the midfielder's life.

Muamba fell to the ground on his own near the centre circle when the game was 41 minutes old and players soon had tears in their eyes as the severity of the situation quickly became clear.

Concern: Referee Howard Webb signals for medical assistance as Fabrice Muamba lies on the pitch

Concern: Referee Howard Webb signals for medical assistance as Fabrice Muamba lies on the pitch

Several looked to the skies in prayer and were consoled by team-mates as medics attempted to resuscitate Muamba with electric shock treatment. The London Chest Hospital later said Muamba was in a 'critically ill condition in intensive care'.

Spurs player Rafael van der Vaart was one of those visibly upset when Muamba collapsed and later took to Twitter to express his feelings. 'Terrible what happened with Muamba during the game,' he said. 'We're all praying for him.'

Shock: Players and officials watch on

Shock: Players and officials are helpless as they stand on the sidelines

England midfielder Jack Wilshere, who played alongside Muamba at Bolton, posted a message saying: 'Hope Muamba is OK. Thoughts with him.'

Middlesbrough defender Justin Hoyte, who played in the Arsenal youth team with Muamba, used Twitter to say: 'I seriously hope my best friend in football is OK. Stay strong bro [sic], please please stay strong. God is with you remember that.'

There were scores of other players sending their best wishes, too, as the world of football united to pray for the player.

Pain: Bolton's Ivan Klasnic is distaught

Pain: Bolton's Ivan Klasnic is distraught as Muamba receives treatment

Wayne Rooney, Vincent Kompany, Emmanuel Adebayor and Michael Owen were among those who were desperate to send their best wishes.

Other high-profile sports stars also
posted similar sentiments, with Wales and Great Britain athlete Dai
Greene, top golfer Lee Westwood and England cricketer Graeme Swann just
three big names among the growing list.

The subject of most of the
messages, which is usually added after a hashtag at the end of each
post, was '#PrayForMuamba' and became a worldwide trend on the
microblogging site.

Tribute: Juventus' Andrea Pirlo dedicated his goal to Muamba

Tribute: Juventus' Andrea Pirlo dedicated his goal to Muamba

In Italy, Andrea Pirlo dedicated Juventus's 5-0 win over Fiorentina to Muamba. 'We pray he gets well soon,' he said.

When a topic trends it is a clear sign it is something that has been mentioned by thousands of people.