- Emiliano Sala’s body has been recovered from a plane wreckage 220 feet below the surface of the English Channel.
- His teammates at Cardiff City, who never got to play with the 28-year-old, led tributes on Twitter.
- The wider soccer industry have also been sharing their condolences.
- Cardiff, meanwhile, is embroiled in a legal row with the player’s former club Nantes over the transfer fee it owes.
- Sala joined Cardiff in January and Nantes have yet to receive a single payment on the £15 million ($19.5 million) transfer fee.
- Nantes has reportedly threatened legal action.
- Read more of Business Insider’s coverage for the 2018-2019 soccer season right here.
The body pulled from the wreckage of a plane discovered 220 feet below the surface of the English Channel has been identified as Emiliano Sala, and tributes from the soccer world have poured in for the deceased Cardiff City player.
Sala, 28, was flying to Cardiff in a plane piloted by David Ibbotson but it disappeared from radar on January 21, just days after the footballer was unveiled as a Cardiff athlete having transferred from the French team Nantes.
An official search lasted for three days, according to the BBC. However, Sala’s agent raised $420,000 so a private search could take its place. This was conducted by David Mearns, a marine scientist and oceanographer, who used sonar to search an area 24 nautical miles north of Guernsey.
The plane was found 220 feet below the English Channel surface, on the seabed, on Sunday morning, as confirmed with underwater cameras. Sala’s body was recovered on Wednesday and formally identified by a coroner in Dorset on Thursday.
The player’s teammates at Cardiff, who never got to compete with Sala, published condolences on Twitter.
Cardiff City centre back Sol Bamba said “rest in peace.”
Tragic… May you rest in peace. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/ybrax86w1t
— Sol Bamba (@Sol14Bamba) February 7, 2019
Joe Bennett posted a crying emoji.
💛💙😪 RIP Emiliano ❤
— Joe Bennett (@JoeBennett27) February 7, 2019
Former Cardiff player Gareth Bale, currently at Real Madrid, also posted his regret over the news.
My condolences to the family and friends of Emiliano Sala. Such sad news. RIP. pic.twitter.com/Iqjrl4V2r8
— Gareth Bale (@GarethBale11) February 8, 2019
And the wider soccer industry also reacted, with messages coming in from the Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil, the Manchester City midfielder Leroy Sane, and the Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe.
RIP EMI 🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺
— Kylian Mbappé (@KMbappe) February 7, 2019
Cardiff City is currently embroiled in a legal row with Sala’s former club Nantes over the £15 million ($19.5 million) transfer fee it owes.
The Telegraph reports that Nantes twice emailed Cardiff to demand “urgent payment.” Cardiff, meanwhile, had frozen the payments while investigations were ongoing. Nantes reportedly threatened legal action if they did not receive a payment within 10 days.
Sala was Cardiff’s record signing.