Jose Antonio Reyes, former Sevilla and Arsenal star has died in a traffic accident today
Jose Antonio Reyes will always be remembered as a Sevilla great. He died today at a young age of 35 in a traffic accident. The whole footballing fraternity is mourning at the unexpected death of a great footballer.
Sevilla sporting director, Monchi helped to discover Reyes in his childhood days. He described the winger’s importance at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, telling SFC Radio: “He was the most innate talent that came out of the academy. Not needing to improve on anything, he was already good, and what’s more, with his sale he allowed the club to grow, and then he came back to win another three titles. He is Sevilla history.
I’ve been numb since the chairman called me, trying to wake up from what I want to be a nightmare but tragically seems to be real.”
Reyes is still the youngest player to ever represent Sevilla in LaLiga. He made his debut at 16 years, 4 months and 29 days in January 2000. He had a successful 20-year career that began in his childhood club Sevilla. Reyes has made 686 appearances in club football, which took him from Spain to England, Portugal and China. He is the only player to win the Europa League 5 times.
Jose Antonio Reyes signed for Arsenal in January 2004. He was a part of Arsene Wenger’s “Invincibles” who won the Premier League unbeaten. He scored 2 goals in 13 appearances. Fabregas and Reyes won an FA Cup during their time together at Arsenal and Fabregas opened up about the important role Reyes played in his career as a young player. Fabregas wrote a tribute on Instagram: “My first great friend in the world of professional football, my room-mate, who always wanted to sleep with the air conditioning even at minus 10 degrees.
A humble guy who always had a smile on his face, great footballer and great person. I could not wake up today in a worse way. I will never forget when you and your family welcomed me at your home in my first Christmas in England when I was alone and 16-years-old.
Our connection in the field was also special, since it was always easy to find you between the lines so you could make the difference. I always say that you have been one of the greatest talents in football and I know that I am not wrong. Two days ago I was talking about you in an interview, it might be a sign, who knows, to remember you, my great friend.”
Arsene Wenger, Reyes’ coach at Arsenal said: “I am devastated to hear the terrible news about Jose. To his family and friends, all support from everyone in the Arsenal family. He will remain forever in our hearts.”
Pepe Reina, a former team-mate of Reyes in Spain, described it as a “difficult day”. He told Omnisport in Madrid: “It is a sad day. It is something that you cannot expect – 35 years old. Suddenly, you find yourself in this situation. My condolences for the family, for his friends…it’s just a difficult day.
The experience of 2006 in Germany [at the World Cup] seems like it was yesterday, to be there with his wife and new-born son. Life is like this, and you have to enjoy it while you can.”
After his time in Arsenal, Reyes was loaned to Real Madrid. Reyes scored two crucial goals against Real Mallorca to secure the title for the Los Blancos. From Real Madrid, he went on a permanent move to Atletico Madrid where he won the Europa League. Then surprisingly Reyes returned to his childhood club Sevilla once again in January 2012. He got the Sevilla success he dreamed of, winning three straight Europa League titles to take his personal tally to five – a record which he holds till now.
For all the inconsistency, there was also sheer talent and joy – in full-flight he was every child’s idea of what a footballer should be. Reyes departed as a hero in 2016 and went on to represent Espanyol and Cordoba. He recently signed for Extremadura in January, having spent 2018 at China League One club Xinjiang Tianshan Leopard. He saved Extremadura from relegation this season.
UEFA has confirmed that a moment of silence will be observed for Jose Antonio Reyes at the Wanda Metropolitano ahead of the Champions League final, today. UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said: “UEFA and European football are deeply saddened by the terrible news that Jose Antonio Reyes has passed away and I would like to express my sincerest condolences to his family and loved ones for their loss. He had a glittering career and won numerous honours wherever he played and I am shocked and saddened that his life has been so tragically cut short.”
Seven of Sunday’s planned Segunda Division games have been postponed by the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) after the death of Jose Antonio Reyes. A statement from RFEF: “After learning of the death of Spain international footballer Jose Antonio Reyes, who currently played in the ranks of Extremadura, the Royal Spanish Football Federation has decided to postpone, with the approval of the National Football League, seven Segunda Division games that were due to be played Sunday, June 2.” The RFEF have also confirmed that there will be a minute of silence ahead of all their official competition games in the upcoming round of fixtures.
The world of football has lost a great footballer and human being, today. The untimely death of Reyes in a tragic traffic accident has shocked us all. All our condolences are with his family. We have lost a legend today. The unconditional love between Reyes and Sevilla rejuvenated his career – the club will now ensure that the passion and the Europa League three-peat live on as his legacy.
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