A minute’s applause was observed before last night’s Champions League final in memory of former Arsenal striker Jose Antonio Reyes, who died yesterday in a car crash in Spain.
The Spaniard joined Arsenal in January 2004 and was part of the Invincibles side that went through the 2003-04 season unbeaten, winning the Premier League.
He was the first Spaniard to earn a Premier League winner’s medal and later spent a season on loan at Real Madrid in 2006-07, winning La Liga.
Tributes from former team-mates flooded in for the 35-year-old, who also won 21 caps for Spain between 2003 and 2006.
Former Arsenal colleague Freddie Ljungberg was among the first, posting on Instagram: ‘Numbed by the news about my former team-mate, Jose Antonio Reyes. Gone far too soon, my thoughts are with his family and friends.’
Arsenal icon Thierry Henry tweeted: ‘I’m devastated to hear the sad news about Jose Antonio Reyes. Wonderful player, superb team mate and exceptional human being. I wish his family and friends continued strength and courage to get through this difficult time.’
I’m devastated to hear the sad news about José Antonio Reyes. Wonderful player, superb team mate and exceptional human being. I wish his family and friends continued strength and courage to get through this difficult time. #takenfartoosoon— Thierry Henry (@ThierryHenry) June 1, 2019
Arsenal manager Unai Emery, who coached Reyes for three and a half seasons at Sevilla from 2013-16, tweeted: ‘I’ll never forget your magic and your smile Jose, never. It was an honour to be by your side.’
Former Real Madrid team-mate Sergio Ramos tweeted in Spanish: ‘Broken. Destroyed. I have no words. All the love to the family. We’ll always remember you, friend! RIP brother.’
Reyes was killed along with his 23-year-old cousin and another man when the vehicle they were travelling in overturned and burst into flames near Utrera, the town where Reyes was born, just outside Seville.
He was reportedly on his way home to his wife and three children after training, having not been picked by current club Extremadura to play against Cadiz tomorrow.
Spanish police said they believe Reyes was driving his Mercedes Brabus S550V at 120mph, some 50mph over the speed limit, on the A-376.
The car was completely burned out after it crashed from the dual carriageway and ended up on its roof.Daily Mail