Just three days after he signed for Premier League club Cardiff City, Emiliano Sala was on a light aircraft that went missing over the English Channel on 21 January.

Dorset Police on Thursday night confirmed the 28-year-old’s body had been recovered from the wreckage, which was found on Sunday morning.

At 28, Emiliano Sala, whose death in a light aircraft crash has been announced, had just reached football maturity, and his move to Cardiff was shaping up to be a thrilling adventure.

Chelsea players test positive for COVID-19

The transfer marked belated recognition for a player who might have been imperfect technically but who was physical, courageous – and endearing.


On the pitch, he was confrontational; off it, he led a quiet life.

He loved detective novels and would never go to an away game without taking a book. He played guitar too but took that up quite late, and usually preferred to leave it at home.

A common morning sight in Nantes was Sala, seated at a table outside a cafe with his labrador Naja curled up at his feet.

Messi: Details of phone conversation with Pep Guardiola emerges

Destiny is cruel.

Fans of Nantes football club spent the whole of January hoping – rumour had it that Sala didn’t really want to leave for Cardiff. His coach, Vahid Halilhodzic, had rekindled his career last October following a long period of struggle under former manager Miguel Cardoso and refused to discuss the possibility of his striker leaving.

Halilhodzic – himself a former centre-forward at Nantes – had decided his mission was to relaunch the Argentine player, whose role model since childhood had been the legendary striker Gabriel Batistuta.

Chelsea joins race for Lionel Messi, claims Rio Ferdinand

“He’s a sensitive young man; he needs to feel confident, so the priority was to help him believe in himself. Only after that could we talk, striker-to-striker,” said Halilhodzic.

Sala confirmed: “The club was ready to sell me to Galatasaray, but I held on tight. I have no regrets, because Vahid and I talk a lot, and I’m steadily improving.” (BBC)