09/11/2012 03:24 GMT

Fabrice Muamba Returns To Tottenham's White Hart Lane (PICTURES)

Fabrice Muamba returned to White Hart Lane for the first time since he suffered a cardiac arrest in March for Tottenham's Europa League tie with Maribor.

The former Bolton Wanderers midfielder was paraded at half-time and shed tears as his visit brought a sense of closure to an eight-month ordeal.

Muamba collapsed in the 41st minute of Bolton Wanderers' FA Cup quarter-final match at Spurs in March and his heart stopped beating independently for 78 minutes.

The match was abandoned with players, staff and fans reeling from the trauma as Muamba was taken to the London Chest Hospital.

Fabrice Muamba At White Hart Lane

Cardiologist Andrew Deaner even leapt from his seat in the White Hart Lane crowd to aid Muamba.

Muamba, just 23 at the time, was discharged a month later to continue his recovery but was forced to retire from football in August on medical advice.

He expressed his gratitude to the Tottenham fans, who applauded him warmly.

"There are people out there who prayed for me. I want to thank the chairman, and to all the Spurs fans. I am grateful to them. They are awesome fans."

Tottenham defeated Maribor 3-1 courtesy of a Jermain Defoe hat-trick.