ABDELHAK NOURI cried "tears of joy" when he found out Donny van de Beek picked Manchester United's No34 jersey in honour of him.
The 23-year-old suffered severe brain damage when he collapsed during a pre-season match for Ajax in 2017.
Nouri, who wore No34 for the Eredivisie side, has since woken from his coma.
He is able to communicate with his family by moving his mouth and eyebrows.
And his father, Mohammed, has revealed how he reacted when Van de Beek called to tell them which shirt number he had picked.
He told NOS: "Donny called me. He asked if I was okay with him playing with number 34.
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"And I said he should. I can only be proud of that, it's a nice gesture, very special for us."
According to Sport Witness, he added: "Appie's eyes looked very sharp suddenly.
"He had tears of joy on his cheeks and was clearly moved when he heard Donny's voice. Donny is like a son to us.
"Everyone at our house was very emotional, happy with Donny's wonderful transfer.
"It was a special day."
Nouri was one of the most promising young talents that progressed through Ajax's academy.
He grew up alongside Van de Beek – and the pair have remained close friends.
Speaking before Ajax won their 34th title in 2019, Van de Beek told De Telegraaf: "Appie was so smart.
"He just joined the first-team and said, 'I'm going to ask for shirt number 34, because the 34th title, we're going to make that happen.
"After his cardiac arrest I kept thinking about his words and I was certain I wasn't going to leave Ajax until we got that 34th championship.
"When I see him, it hurts me too much. I'll be upset for a couple of weeks and won't sleep well.
"It hurts intensely and I will never get used to it. I want to be with him every day because I miss him a lot."
Van De Beek has now penned a five-year deal with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's United side.
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