Emiliano Sala plane crash: How the world paid tribute to footballer whose ‘soul will shine forever’

Emiliano Sala’s sister has led the tributes to the popular footballer after it emerged it was his body that was pulled from the wreckage of a plane at the bottom of the English Channel. 

Romina Sala posted a picture of her brother on Instagram showing him with his arms spread and looking up to the sky while standing on the halfway line at the Stade de la Beaujoire – home of his former club FC Nantes.

She used the caption to write an eulogy to the Argentinian striker, which read: "Your soul in my soul it will shine forever thus illuminating the time of my existence. I love you, tito."

Fellow footballers have also reacted to confirmation of his death, which came almost three weeks after his plane crashed en route from Nantes, France, to Cardiff.

And Argentina’s president Mauricio Macri – who had joined calls for the search for the plane to be resumed after it was called off – also posted on Twitter, sending his condolences to Sala’s family, adding: "We are with you".

FC Nantes announced on Friday they would be retiring the No. 9 shirt in honour of their former striker. 

The light aircraft was piloted by David Ibbotson, who has not been found.

Cardiff City Football Club, to which Sala had recently signed for a club record £15 million, said in a statement: "We offer our most heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the family of Emiliano.

"He and David will forever remain in our thoughts."

In full | Statement from FC Nantes

Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, a fellow Argentinian, tweeted: "Rest in peace, Emiliano. My condolences to his friends and family." He signed off the tweet with the hashtag Pray For Sala.

Arsenal player Mesut Ozil wrote: "No words to describe how sad this is. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family and also to the family of the pilot. RIP Sala."

Manchester City’s Benjamin Mendy tweeted an image of Sala, while Paris Saint-Germain footballer Kylian Mbappe – who Sala was battling with for the top scorer title in Ligue 1 in France – wrote simply: "RIP EMI."

Everton player Oumar Niasse, who is currently on loan to Cardiff City, tweeted: "RIP Emiliano Sala. Forever in our thoughts."

The stream of tweets paying tribute to Emiliano Sala