Edwin van der Sar has been placed on indefinite compassionate leave by Manchester United after his wife suffered a brain haemorrhage, manager Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed on Tuesday.
The 39-year-old goalkeeper, who has been absent since last month's win over Everton with a knee injury, had been given permission to return to Holland over the festive period and receive treatment from the Holland team doctor.
But his 36-year-old wife Annemarie van Kesteren collapsed last Wednesday as Van der Sar and his young family were preparing to celebrate Christmas and the Holland international has been granted permission to stay away from Manchester.
Ferguson said: "Annemarie had a problem over in Holland a week ago and has been admitted to hospital. 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."
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