Soccer star Elabdellaoui’s sight-loss fear

Norwegian soccer player Omar Elabdellaoui has been hospitalised with eye damage and facial burns after fireworks exploded in his hand at his home in Istanbul on New Year’s Eve, his Turkish club Galatasaray says.

Elabdellaoui, captain of Norway’s national side, was conscious and the injuries are not life threatening.

Any lasting damage to his eyesight will not be known until the 29-year-old has undergone further examination, Galatasaray said.

A four-day coronavirus-related curfew began in Turkey at 9pm local time on Thursday, meaning that large gatherings to ring in the New Year were not possible and people had to celebrate at home, where many set off fire crackers.

“Fireworks exploded in Omar’s hand. But he speaks and can respond to doctors in the intensive care ward,” the club’s vice president Abdurrahim Albayrak told reporters at the hospital.

“The year 2020 was unlucky, and Galatasaray members experienced such an unlucky event at the last minute,” he said.

Elabdellaoui has played 20 times in all competitions for club and country in 2020/21, including October’s UEFA Nations League wins over Romania and Northern Ireland.

The defender, who began his career at Manchester City, joined Turkish giants Galatasaray this summer after six years with Greek side Olympiacos.

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