Nantes retires Sala’s number 9 jersey

Nantes retires Sala’s number 9 jersey

- in World Sports

Nantes has retired the number 9 jersey in honour of former striker Emiliano Sala, whose body has been found in the plane wreckage in the English Channel.

The French club released a heartfelt statement on Friday, confirming the decision to retire the shirt.

“FC Nantes had the immense sadness on Thursday to learn that the body found was that of Emiliano Sala.

“This news puts an end to interminable and unbearable waiting. Emiliano will forever be on the legends who has written the great history of FC Nantes.

“There are difficult mornings, nightmarish awakenings, where unhappily reality hits us. Emis is gone…

“Emiliano Sala arrived on the backs of the Edre in July 2015 and knew how to win the hearts of the Nantes supporters.

“With his work, his desire and his kindness without limits, he finished as the club’s top scorer in his three seasons.

“The homages paid to him nationally and internationally match the player and personality that he was.

“Today, we have lost a friend, a talented player and an exemplary team-mate.

“We can’t forget in this drama the pilot and his family and have confidence that the authorities will continue their search.”

Meanwhile, Sala’s sister led tributes to her brother as Mesut Ozil, DejanLovren and Kylian Mbappe all penned heartfelt messages for the Cardiff City player.

The striker’s body was found in the plane wreckage in the English Channel, police have confirmed.

On Wednesday, it emerged an unidentified body – now known to be Sala – was brought off ship, Geo Ocean III, on a stretcher and transferred to a private ambulance before being taken to Dorset Police and the local coroner.

The plane was flying from Nantes, France, the home of Sala’s former team, to Cardiff on January 21, when it crashed into the sea with the new £15mi signing and pilot David Ibbotson inside.

Her emotional tribute to her brother said:  “Your soul in my soul will shine forever, illuminating the time of my existence. I love you.”

Diego Maradona, who was among those that called on authorities not to give up trying to find the footballer, paid tribute on Instagram.

Alongside a picture of a match-day programme featuring Sala, the Argentine World Cup winner said: “I am very sorry for this sad news. Many of us kept a light of hope for you, Emiliano. I send a big hug to your family and friends.”

Fellow Argentine and Manchester City forward, Sergio Aguero, added: “Terribly sad. Rest in peace, Emiliano. My condolences to his friends and family.”

Liverpool defender, DejanLovren, posted a heartfelt message on Instagram, saying: “I prayed every day because hope is the last.

“This is a great deal to accept. I cannot even imagine how difficult it is for you [Sala’s family]. We are all with you!”

Arsenal midfielder, Mesut Ozil, said: “No words to describe how sad this is. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family and also to the family of the pilot.”

Cardiff released a statement on their website, which read: “We offer our most heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the family of Emiliano. He and David will forever remain in our thoughts.”

Bluebirds defender, Joe Bennett, also took to Twitter by posting a yellow and blue heart emoji alongside a crying emoji and wrote: “RIP Emiliano.”

On Friday morning, Wayne Rooney added his voice to the many tributes, tweeting a black and white picture of Sala with the message: “Rest in peace. Thoughts are with friends and family.”

Chelsea defender, Antonio Rudiger, said: “Heartbreaking to hear the news about Emiliano Sala. Rest in peace! Thoughts go out to the family and friends of Emiliano and the pilot.”

Mbappe, Antonio Valencia and Ruben Loftus-Cheek all posted ‘RIP’ on social media in tribute to Sala.

Tottenham midfielder, Victor Wanyama, joined the chorus of tributes on Friday morning, tweeting a picture of Sala alongside three broken heart emojis.

Families of the Argentine striker and pilot David Ibbotson had been anxiously awaiting news over whose body was pulled from the crashed Piper Malibu plane as they seek answers over the tragedy.

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