French footballer club, Nantes have retired their No 9 jersey in honour of former striker Emiliano Sala, whose body was recovered from the plane wreckage at the bottom of the English Channel.
Dorset Police confirmed last night that the body was that of the Argentine striker whose plane crashed into the English Channel with a pilot onboard while flying to start a new life with Cardiff FC in Wales from Nantes in France after his £15million signing to the Premiership club.
On Friday, the French club released a heartfelt statement and confirmed their decision to retire the No.9 shirt he wore during his time with them.
‘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 relity 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 personal that he was.
‘Today, we have lost a friend, a talented player and an exemplaray team-mate.
‘We can’t forget in this drama the pilot and his family and have confidence that the authorities will continue their search.’
Waldemar Kita, president of Nantes said: ‘I don’t have the words. It’s a tragedy, I’m crushed. Emiliano left his mark. That’s why, like many fans, I wish to honour him by retiring the No 9.
‘Nantes, its board, its staff and its players, wish to pass the families of Emiliano Sala and David Ibbotson their deepest condolences. We will never forget you, Emi.
‘He’s an Argentine who never gives up, Emiliano Sala, Emiliano Sala…’