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Former Barcelona assistant coach Juan CarlosUnzuehas revealed he has been diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND).
Unzueannounced on Thursday he was diagnosed with the rare neurological disorder amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the most widely suffered type of MND, in February.
There is no known cure for ALS, which causes the death of neurons controlling voluntary muscles.Unzuesaid he wants to raise awareness and funds for research.
"I insist I am coping well, I feel privileged to be able to have lived the life I have and now I feel privileged about what I will be able to do about ALS, which is a disease that anyone can get,"Unzuetold a news conference at CampNou.
"I will try together with the Luzon Foundation to help improve the quality of life. We want to create a series of challenges or events that allow us to raise money for research. Hopefully in the not too distant future we will find a solution."
Unzuerepresented Barca and Sevilla as a goalkeeper during his playing days and was assistant to Luis Enrique at CampNoufrom 2014-17, helping the team win twoLa Ligatitles, three Copadel Rey trophies and the Champions League.
Luis Enrique, now Spain boss,was among those in attendance on Thursday, along with Barca presidentJosepMaria Bartomeu and several of the first-team squad.
"People have a great capacity to adapt to life,"Unzueadded. "I have met other sick people who are very much eager to continue living, despite the difficulties, because life is worth it."
Barcelona showed their support for their former player and assistant manager on Twitter, writing: "Juan Carlos, you have all our support and solidarity. Stay strong, coach!"
Real Madrid also released a statement on Thursday in support of the 53-year-old.
"We at Real Madrid C. F. wish to send all of our affection and best wishes to Juan Carlos Unzue," it read. "We will be there for him and his family in the battle against this illness and offer all of our support and strength."