"Rest in peace, warrior," wrote Gabriel Batistuta as a tribute to record-signing Emiliano Sala.
English authorities have confirmed on Thursday that the body rescued from the plane found in the English Channel is that of Argentine professional footballer Emiliano Sala.
The information was given by the Dorset Police after the remains of the plane in which Sala was traveling, alongside pilot David Ibbotson, were found on February 3. Sala and Ibbotson were flying from the French city of Nantes to Cardiff, when the plane disappeared from the radars on January 21.
"The body brought to Portland Port today has been formally identified by HM Coroner for Dorset as that of a professional footballer, Emiliano Sala. The families of Mr. Sala and pilot David Ibbotson have been updated. Our thoughts remain with them all," stated the Dorset Police department through a tweet.
Sala, a 28-year-old Argentine footballer, played for the French team Nantes from 2015 to 2019 and had recently been transferred to the English Premier League (EPL) team Cardiff City, for 17 million euros, which was a record amount for the EPL team.
Nantes Football Club has stated that Sala's number nine jersey will be retired as a tribute to "Emi." The team has declared next Sunday as a day of homage to the Argentine footballer.
"I am very sorry about this sad news. Many of us kept a glimmer of hope for you, Emiliano,” wrote Argentine football legend, Diego Armando Maradona on his facebook official account. Gabriel Batistuta, another star, and former striker from the Argentine national team, echoed Maradona's words. "What sadness, this is the worst news. Rest in peace, warrior," he wrote. Other footballers have paid their tributes too, for example, Wayne Rooney and Sergio "Kun," Aguero, among others. German midfielder Mesut Ozil wrote on Twitter: “No words to describe how sad this is. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family and also to the family of the pilot.”
His sister, Romina Sala, wrote on her Instagram account: "Your soul will shine in my soul forever, illuminating throughout my existence. I love you, Tito."