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13:07 GMT +3 hours19 December 2014
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Former Armenia striker Mikaelyan in need of heart transplant

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Former Armenia striker Karapet Mikaelyan has been diagnosed with a rare heart condition and is in urgent need of a transplant, he told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.

Former Armenia striker Karapet Mikaelyan has been diagnosed with a rare heart condition and is in urgent need of a transplant, he told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.

The 42-year-old Mikaelyan, who played 20 matches for the national team between 1996 and 1999, said doctors had diagnosed him with dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition where the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently.

“To be honest, I’m panicking,” Mikaelyan told RIA Novosti. “I never thought that after a life of sport this kind of thing could happen.”

Mikaelyan said he could not afford the 30,000 euros required for the operation and that all the clubs he had represented during his 20-year career turned down his requests for donations. He said doctors had not told him exactly how urgent the surgery was.

Mikaelyan was born in Moscow and spent most of his club career in the lower leagues, but had two years at Russian Premier League club Krylya Sovietov Samara in 1999-2000, when he scored 10 goals in 37 appearances.

He said he had received unexpected financial support from Russian international defender Sergei Ignashevich and national team assistant manager Aleksandr Borodyuk, but was still quite short of the amount needed.