Manchester United great Andy Cole has opened up about the kidney failure that was prompted by an airborne virus over seven months ago.
The former England international has since been diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, which causes scarring of the kidney.
Cole was a crucial cog in the United machine that dominated English football in the mid-to-late 90s and through to the post-millennium era.
He scored 121 goals in 275 appearances for the club, helping United to win five league Premier League titles and a Champions League in his under Alex Ferguson.
Cole admitted it is unlikely that his kidney will ever get back to full health, but is hoping to get back to running and playing football in the future.
“I don’t think my kidney is going to be 100% now, if it gets back to 70-80% I will be delighted,” he told BBC Sport.
“When I admitted to myself I was ill, it was tough to accept. I didn’t want my family to worry about me.”
Cole said putting on weight had been the hardest part of his condition.
“Putting on all the weight has been the toughest part,” added Cole.
“When I retired, I promised my kids I will never put on weight because when [footballers] retire they eat and drink.
“Seeing the change in my body, that has been tough, it wreaks havoc with yourself. You get comments like, ‘Andy Cole’s let himself go, who ate all the pies?’
“I have to take it day by day. I am four months off a year and it has been tough going through this process.”
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