On Jan. 21st, Argentine player Emiliano Sala was on a plane from Nantes, France to Cardiff, Wales to officially sign for Welsh club Cardiff City FC. Unfortunately, the plane went down off the coast of Guernsey, and Sala and the pilot David Ibbotson were announced missing.
Emiliano Sala was born in Cululú, Santa Fe, Argentina and rose through the ranks of Argentinian football, eventually paving a way to a move to Europe. French club Bordeaux eventually signed the forward, but the club would not give the forward much playing time. Sala was loaned out several times over his five year spell at the french club.
His first loan spell came in the 2012-2013 season, playing for third-tier French side US Orléans. Determined to prove Bordeaux wrong, Sala went on to score 19 goals in 37 appearances. That wasn’t good enough for Bordeaux, as the club loaned out Sala the following season to Ligue 2 side Chamois Niortais. There the forward scored 18 goals in 37 appearances. It looked as if Sala had done enough to convince Bordeaux that he could play in the top flight of France, however he was loaned for the third consecutive season to Ligue 2 side SM Caen, scoring 5 goals in 15 appearances. Despite having exceptional form on his loan spells, scoring a total 42 goals for his respective loan clubs, Bordeaux would never give him the sufficient amount of first team football he worked so hard for.
In 2015, after 5 years with Bordeaux, French club Nantes paid €1 million for the Argentine’s services. It was at Nantes were Sala really made a name for himself. During the four years at Nantes, Sala scored 42 goals in 120 appearances. This prompted Welsh club to splash the cash for the Argentine forward, paying £15 million for his services.
Unfortunately, Sala would never fully make it to Cardiff City, after his flight returning to Nantes from Cardiff went down. Emiliano Sala was officially declared dead on Feb. 8.
The footballing world was devastated. Fans all around the world, but specifically in the Premier League, were looking forward to seeing the Argentine light up the league with his lethal goal scoring ability. Several tributes have been made for Sala, with many players and fans all around the world paying their respects and condolences. Sala’s fomer club Nantes would pay tribute in a special way for him, making all the tickets for a fixture against Nimes just €9, as Sala wore the number 9 for Nantes. The official twitter account of Nantes posted a tweet when translated said: The following tweet is translated as: “So that a maximum of supporters can, with the players, make a final homage to Emiliano Sala for #FCNNO, the whole stadium is now at €9 Sunday.”
The Premier league also announced that all the clubs will wear black armbands as a tribute to Sala during all the fixtures that weekend. The Argentine’s death would hit hard with Cardiff City fans, who paid an emotional tribute to Sala before the side’s fixture against Bournemouth, with a minute of silence to honor him before the game. Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock was very emotional after the game. In a post match interview with the BBC, Warnock said, “I was surprised I shed a tear. But things catch up with your after tragedies, there’s nothing wrong with that really…”
It’s a very sad time for the global football community, and it’s a shame that we as fans were never able to see Sala play in the Premier League. Rest in peace Emiliano Sala.
Luke Stergiou can be contacted at