The wife of Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar is seriously ill after a stroke.
Van der Sar is at his wife Annemarie van Kesteren's hospital bedside in Holland awaiting test results.
Sportsmail understands Annemarie, 36, collapsed at home last Wednesday as Van der Sar and the couple's two children, Joe and Lynn, were preparing to celebrate Christmas.
Out of action in recent weeks with a knee injury, Van der Sar had been given permission by United boss Sir Alex Ferguson to return to his homeland for the festive period and to receive treatment from the Holland team doctor.
Relatives are understood to be helping him look after their son Joe and daughter Lynn.
The 39-year-old former international is not expected back in Manchester until more is known about his wife's condition. The player's agent Rob Jansen said it was 'private business'.
Van der Sar, who is Holland's most capped player with 130appearances and is currently considering an offer to come out of retirement ahead of next summer's World Cup, first met Annemarie while shopping at her brother's grocery shop.
They married in Amsterdam three-and-a-half years ago and currently live in Cheshire, although Annemarie shuns the limelight.
Safe hands: Manchester United keeper Edwin van der Sar
Van der Sar is United's No 1 and has been considering an offer to stay at the club for another season.
He has not played since the 3-0 win over Everton on November 21because of a knee injury. The former Ajax and Juventus star arrived inEngland in 2001 before leaving Fulham for United in 2005.
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