A man holds a sports magazine and yellow tulips as fans gather in Nantes’ city center after news that newly-signed Cardiff City soccer player Emiliano Sala was missing after the light aircraft he was travelling in disappeared between France and England the previous evening, according to France’s civil aviation authority, France, January 22, 2019. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
(Reuters) – Fulham boss Claudio Ranieri described Cardiff City forward Emiliano Sala as a “fighter” and said he was “devastated” to hear that he was on board a flight that disappeared over the English Channel on Monday.
Sala, who had completed a 17 million euros ($19.32 million) transfer from Ligue 1 side Nantes to Cardiff, was flying to the Welsh capital when the aircraft lost radar contact near the island of Guernsey.
The 28-year-old Argentine forward played under Ranieri at Nantes last season and finished the campaign as the club’s top scorer with 12 goals.
“Emiliano is a wonderful character,” Ranieri told Fulham’s website. “He’s a fantastic footballer who always gave his best when we worked together in France.
“Knowing him as a person, he’s a fighter.”
AS Monaco manager Thierry Henry posted a message on Twitter, saying: “Devastating news about Emiliano Sala. Wishing and praying for strength, courage and some good news for his family and friends.”
West Ham United’s Argentine defender Pablo Zabaleta said on Twitter he was hoping for positive news: “All my thoughts with the player, pilot, their families and @CardiffCityFC.”
($1 = 0.8799 euros)
Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford