‘Unreal gesture’: Arsenal star praised as he saves non-league player’s football career

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Aaron Ramsdale was praised for his actions on and off the pitch this weekend after a moment of generosity to and old friend.

Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale has proved he is a class act on and off the pitch after making a sizeable donation to a friend in need at non-league club Matlock Town.

The shot-stopper impressed once again between the sticks as Arsenal beat Leeds United at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday and followed it up on Sunday by contributing £1,000 to a fundraiser for former Sheffield United and Chesterfield teammate Connor Dimaio.

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Dimaio now plays at non-league outfit Matlock but ruptured an anterior cruciate ligament and strained medial and lateral ligaments in March.

The devastating injury sentenced the midfielder to a very lengthy and career-threatening time on the sidelines with surgery needed as soon as possible to keep him playing football.

However, due to NHS waiting times and the financial implications that the loss of earnings would have, Dimaio had been forced to turn to private surgery which would cost a hefty £6,000. A Crowdfunding page was then set up to help the player make the operation a reality.

To make matters even tougher, 'family man' Dimaio had just welcomed his second child into the world with his partner with the fundraiser explaining the setback "could not have come at a more difficult time".

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Matlock boss Martin Carruthers said: "We all want to come together and show our support for Connor and his family after his devastating injury which has hit us all hard.

"He is a fantastic young man and we all want to ensure he recovers as quickly as possible and he can return to the Gladiators in the new year fitter and stronger than before.

Connor Dimaio might have never played again without the funds raised (Image: Getty Images)Connor Dimaio might have never played again without the funds raised (Image: Getty Images)
Connor Dimaio might have never played again without the funds raised (Image: Getty Images) | Getty Images

"The PFA will help support his operation but we still need to help support Connor and his family in this difficult financial climate to ensure they can survive with the increasing living costs and also help support them with their newborn child.

"We have to look after our own and ensure he gets the best medical treatment as he will be a valuable asset for us and will be like a new signing the quicker we can get him back and fully rehabilitated."

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The Professional Footballers' Association had committed to covering some of those private costs but the club and player were still left needing thousands of pounds.

That's where Gunners star Ramsdale stepped in with his generous £1,000 donation. He wrote: "Con, you a legend mate! With everything what happened with your mom and football etc you deserve this chance!"

It didn't take football fans long to spot the donation and praise Ramsdale online for his "class" and "unreal gesture".

The £6,000 donation has now been reached with a flurry of contributions after Ramsdale, who had taken the kitty up to £5,710 with his money.

Thanking Ramsdale for his generosity, Matlock wrote on Twitter: "Arsenal's number one coming through with an incredible donation... we cannot thank Aaron enough."

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