Colombia plane crash: Chapecoense goalkeeper Nivaldo retires after club's change of plan saved his life

Nivaldo was due to make his 300th and final appearance this weekend before the tragic plane crash in Colombia that killed 71 people

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The Independent Football

Chapecoense goalkeeper Nivaldo, who was not on the plane that crashed this week killing 71 people in Colombia, has said that he will never play football again after the tragic loss of his teammates and friends.

42-year-old Nivaldo was one of the first-team members not selected for the Copa Sudamericana and was left in Chapeco as the rest of the side travelled to Colombia on Monday night. The plane they were flying in crashed late on Monday night in the mountainous region near Medellin in Colombia, with aviation reports in Brazil appearing to confirm that the plane ran out of fuel after being put in a holding circle despite reporting an electrical failure.

Nivaldo was not selected due to the fact that he was set to make his 300th appearance for Chapecoense this weekend against Atletico Mineiro, and in order to ensure his landmark match would come in front of the home fans, we was left out of the Copa Sudamericana side.

“I was supposed to go on the trip but ended up staying,” a tearful Nivaldo told Globoesporte. “Everything has a reason in life. I didn’t travel to Palmeiras because it would make my farewell game to play here against Atlético-MG, when I would complete 300 games for the club.

“As there was a change in the trip, they would not return to Chapeco and instead go straight from Sao Paulo to Medellín. So Caio [the coach] said he would not take me.”

Nivaldo was due to leave the club at the end of the current Brazilian season, which is now on hold after the South American Football Confederation [Conmebol] suspended all activities.

Instead, two other goalkeepers were taken to Colombia. 31-year-old Danilo survived the crash and was taken to hospital, but after speaking to his wife via a phone call, he tragically died to become the 71st and final victim of the accident.

The other goalkeeper, 24-year-old Jakson Ragnar Follmann, survived the crash but is said to be in the most “severe” state of the six survivors. He is described as “medically stable”, but has had one leg amputated and could still lose his other foot.

Follman’s father, Paulo, told Associated Press news agency earlier this week: "The chances of surviving an airplane crash are practically zero. That my son is one of the survivors is a miracle of God."