A body retrieved from the wreckage of a crashed plane in the English Channel has been formally identified as Cardiff City’s Argentina-born football player Emiliano Sala, British police said on Thursday.
Sala, 28, had been flying from his previous club Nantes in western France to Wales on Jan. 21.
He was going to make his debut for the English Premier League club when the single-engine Piper Malibu aircraft disappeared over the sea.
The wreckage was found on Sunday following a privately-funded underwater search and a body recovered on Wednesday and taken to southern England.
“The body brought to Portland Port today (Thursday)… has been formally identified by HM Coroner for Dorset as that of professional footballer Emiliano Sala,” the police statement said.
“The families of Mr Sala and the pilot David Ibbotson have been updated with this news and will continue to be supported by specially-trained family liaison officers. Our thoughts remain with them at this difficult time.”
Cardiff posted the statement on their website under a picture of the player.
“We offer our most heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the family of Emiliano. He and David will forever remain in our thoughts,” the Welsh club said.
Sala had agreed to join relegation-threatened Cardiff for a club record fee of 15 million pounds ($19.43 million) from French Ligue 1 club Nantes.