The football world has been left in a state of shock after 75 people were killed in a plane crash that included the majority of the Brazilian football team Chapecoense after their aircraft came down in the mountainous region near Medellin in Colombia.
Six of the 81 aboard the flight survived the crash and have been taken to hospital with injuries. Aeronautica Civil issued a statement to confirm that the plane was carrying “22 footballers, 28 companions and technical staff, 22 journalists and nine crew members”.
Local reports claim the five survivors are defender Alan Ruschel, goalkeeper Jackson Follmann, journalist Rafael Hensel and crew members Ximena Suarez and Erwin Tumiri.
Clubs across the world have sent messages of condolence and tributes to the Brazilian top flight club, while Fifa has also issued a statement with president Gianni Infantino labelling it a “very, very sad day for football”.
Infantino’s statement read: "We are so sorry to hear about the airplane crash in Colombia, it is shocking and tragic news. At this difficult time our thoughts are with the victims, their families and friends."
Both the Real Madrid and Barcelona squads help a minute’s silence in tribute to the dead during training this morning ahead of their El Clasico derby this weekend.
Hundreds of thousands of Twitter messages were send to the club’s @ChapecoenseReal Twitter account, and a video released by the club last week showing the team celebrating their Copa Sudamericana semi-final victory over San Lorenzo last Wednesday has gone viral in tribute of the dead.
The team hail from the small city of Chapeco in south Brazil and had embarked on something of a fairy tale season this year. After gaining promotion to the Serie A in 2014 for the first time since the 1970s, Chapecoense reached the Copa Sudamericana final in what is South America’s equivalent to the Uefa Europa League. After seeing off San Lorenzo in a two-leg semi-final, they were due to play Colombian side Atletico Nacional on Wednesday before the return fixture in Chapeco next week.
The club have never won a major trophy in their history, having gained promotion through second and third-place finishes in Serie D, Serie C and Serie B between 2009 and 2014.
Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea were among the many Premier League teams that sent messages of condolence to the Brazilian club, while a number of individuals also took the time to send their tributes to family, friends and supporters of the victims.
Chelsea defender and Brazil international David Luiz wrote an emotional tribute to his former teammate and friend Arthur Maia, who died in the crash, and he posted a picture of the Chapecoense player that he had kept from their days playing for Vitoria together.
“Know that one day I had the pleasure to meet you and have you as a little brother,” Luiz wrote on Instagram. “Then we lost contact for each one to follow his way and today I wake up and know that you are no longer among us.
“With this news that breaks hearts around the world. I cannot believe it! May God comfort your family, friends and all the families involved!
“I keep this image saved as I always had of a pure and dreamy boy! God bless you!! Praying for all! #RIP #ArthurMaia”
Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale took to Twitter to say: “Absolutely horrendous to hear about the crash carrying @ChapecoenseReal My thoughts are with all the families of the passengers and crew!”
Manchester United and England captain Wayne Rooney added: “Sad news to wake up to today. Thoughts are with @ChapecoenseReal and their family and friends.”
A number of other Premier League players past and present penned tributes to the dead, and sent their support to their families and friends.
Other Brazilian clubs also leant their support to Chapecoense, with a number of them posting: “Today, all clubs of Brazil are one #ForcaChape.”
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