Nantes have officially retired the number 9 shirt that belonged to Emiliano Sala. The Italian-Argentinean striker had agreed to leave the club to join Cardiff but the plane that should have brought him to Wales disappeared in the English Channel.
The plane and Sala’s body were found this week with authorities that have confirmed that the body inside the plane belonged to the unlucky striker.
Nantes announced on its official Twitter handle that the number 9 shirt of the club has been retired as a sign of respect for the striker born in 1990 and dead on the 21st of January.
A statement released by the club read: “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 one of the legends who has written the great history of FC Nantes.
“There are difficult mornings, nightmarish awakenings, where unhappily reality hit us. Emi 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 person that he was. Today, we have lost a friend, a talented player and an exemplary team-mate.
“We can’t forget in this drama the pilot and his family and have confidence that the authorities will continue their search.
“For Waldemar Kita, president of FC Nantes: ‘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…”