In Depth

Emiliano Sala: football world pays tribute to Cardiff City striker

Body from plane wreckage confirmed to be that of the Argentine footballer

The football world is in mourning today after the body recovered from a plane wreckage was identified as Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala.

On 21 January the Argentine and pilot David Ibbotson were travelling to the Welsh capital on a flight from French city Nantes. The Piper Malibu N264DB aircraft the duo were on lost contact with air traffic controllers after taking off at around 7.15pm.

Following a search of the English channel the missing plane was found on the seabed on Sunday and Sala’s body was recovered from the wreckage on Wednesday. Pilot Ibbotson is still missing.

Dorset Police confirmed the identification of the body last night and in a statement said: “The body brought to Portland Port has been formally identified by HM Coroner for Dorset as that of professional footballer Emiliano Sala.

“The families of Mr Sala and the pilot David Ibbotson have been updated with this news and will continue to be supported by specially-trained family liaison officers.”

Premier League club Cardiff, who signed Sala for a club-record £15m from Nantes, said: “We offer our most heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the family of Emiliano. He and David will forever remain in our thoughts.”

#RIPEmiliano: tributes paid to Sala

In reaction to the news of Sala’s death, football clubs, players and fans from around the world paid tribute to the former Nantes forward.

Cardiff City captain Sol Bamba tweeted a heart emoji with the words “tragic... may you rest in peace” while Welsh rivals Newport County said: “Everyone at #NCAFC would like to pass on our condolences to @CardiffCityFC, @FCNantes as well as all of the friends and family of Emiliano Sala at this tragic time.”

Manchester City and Argentina striker Sergio Aguero added: “Terribly sad. Rest in peace, Emiliano. My condolences to his friends and family #PrayForSala.”

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