José Antonio Reyes has been killed in a traffic accident in his hometown of Utrera, Sevilla FC confirmed on Saturday morning.
Reyes came up through Sevillas youth academy – a pupil of Joaquín Caparrós who labelled him the most talented player he has coached.
He remains the youngest player to have made their top flight debut with Sevilla, making his first appearance in the Week 22 meeting with Zaragoza.
His qualities – blistering pace, set-pieces expertise and passing ability were noted by Arsenal scouts and became one of the first Spanish players to make the transition from LaLiga to the Premier League, joining the Gunners in 2004.
It proved to be a big change for Reyes, who never really settled in London and missed the way things were back home in Seville.
He returned to Spain to join Real Madrid on loan with Júlio Baptista going in the opposite direction.
A year later he signed for Atlético de Madrid – the start of a series of moves which included spells at Benfica, back to Sevilla, Espanyol and a short stint in China with Xinjiang Tianshan Leopard FC.
His last club was Extremadura, who he joined at the start of this year.
Reyes hold the record for being the player with the most Europa League winners medals – he won the tournament five times – twice with Atlético de Madrid three times with Sevilla. He was capped 21 times for Spain.
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