Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin Van der Dar has been granted an indefinite leave of absence by the club so he can return to Holland to be with his ill wife.
The 39 year old had returned home for treatment on a knee injury when Annemarie van Kesteren suffered a brain haemorrhage on December 23.
“Annemarie had a problem over in Holland a week ago and has been admitted to hospital,” said United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
“That is the best place for her to be. They have examined her twice and are trying to get to the root of it.
“I have told Edwin to stay over there. There is no point in him being here.
“The best thing is for him to be with his wife. Hopefully she will make a good recovery.”
Van der Sar was believed to have been considering coming out of international retirement for this summer’s World Cup and is the country’s most capped player.