Too Young to Go: From Emiliano Sala to Six Flamengo Youth Academy Players
On January 19, Cardiff City Football Club, a Welsh soccer team competing in the English Premier League, completed the club-record signing of striker Emiliano Sala. With a whopping purchase fee of 17 million euros with add-ons, Cardiff spent more money on Sala than they have on any other player. Sala was a renowned star at Nantes, his former club that plays in the French Ligue 1, where he scored more goals than the likes of superstars Neymar Jr. and Edinson Cavani, who both play for reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain. He scored 13 goals in 20 games, only behind Kylian Mbappe and Nicolas Pepe, who have 20 and 16 goals; respectively.
However, worrying reports claimed that a small aircraft carrying the Argentine went missing just off the coast of southern England on January 21. On January 24, despite countless pleas from Sala’s intimate family members as well as people across the globe, the Guernsey–a self-governing British dependence off the coast of France–called off a search for the soccer player and his pilot. This made the public question further whether or not Sala made it out alive.
Harbourmaster David Barker gave a detailed statement to Emiliano’s sister Romina and his father Horacio–who were the driving forces in the campaign to fund for a private investigator–explaining why the government had decided to call off the search for the missing aircraft and passengers. A sentence included in the statement was: “The chances of survival at this stage are extremely remote.” - (as said on “Goal.com”).
The #NoDejenDeBuscar, which translates to “don’t stop searching” in English, hashtag had been used by many renowned soccer stars, such as Lionel Messi of Barcelona FC and Kylian Mbappe, who donated more than 30,000 euros for the search to happen. Sala’s family hired a private investigator, one that was known for finding the things that they were paid for searching, on January 25.
On February 3, the private investigators found the missing plane, severely damaged by was what believed as lightning, ice, and the impact of when it crashed in the Atlantic Ocean bedrock. Following the news and progress made on the search for Emiliano, Romina posted a picture onto FaceBook, with a caption reading “Nala [the name of the dog] tambien te espera.. [followed by a heart emoji],” translating to Nala is waiting for you, too.
On January 19, Sala posted a picture of himself holding up Cardiff’s signature blue jersey during the contract signing, along with a caption: “There is a new Sala in town @premierleague Very happy to sign here @cardiffcityfc!!,” referring to reigning Golden Boot–top scorer in the league–champion Mohamed Salah of Liverpool FC.
On the plane, Sala told his friends in a voice message on WhatsApp that “I’m in the plane and it looks like it’s going to fall apart.” He also told his father Horacio in a call: “Dad, I’m really scared,” expressing his profound fear while aboard the small aircraft.
A body was finally found on February 7, and officials later confirmed later that the body belonged to Sala. Reports say that they could not identify Sala until they scanned his fingerprints in the autopsy room.
The pilot of the plane, David Ibbotson, has not been found yet despite his family hiring a private investigator the same time that Emiliano’s family did.
Emiliano Sala was only 28 years old.
Less than 24 hours after the devastating announcement of Sala’s death, there was a terrifying fire that claimed the lives of 10 people at Flamengo FC, a soccer club based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, academy’s training center and lodges. Three people were injured, all of them were either 14 or 15 years old. Six players died in the fire, and four staff members died as well.
The training center was only renovated and expanded a little over two months ago, and at 5:00 am of February 8, a portion of it was engulfed in flames. Some people managed to escape, but the fire department were not allowed to enter the ferocious flames because it was deemed too unsafe and life-risking by Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Henaut, the man in charge of the team attempting to take care of the Flamengo fire. Flamengo president Rodolfo Landim called it “the biggest tragedy in Flamengo’s 123-year history”
Famous soccer players who spent years in Flamengo Academy or First Team, including Leonardo Araújo, Dejan Petković, Zico, Romario, Ronaldinho, Bebeto, Vinicius Junior, and Lucas Paqueta offered support to the club and family members of the ones who perished in the fatal fire.
The end of January and beginning of February have been some dark times for the footballing world, with coincidences that resulted with tragic, devastating, and fatal outcomes.
[I was not able to insert quotes from people in the C&C community as many do not know soccer very well, and for those who did they did not want to be interviewed. Barely anybody knew of Emiliano Sala or Flamengo FC, and so I could not but what they thought about the incident into the article. I looked for approval to send a survey just to see if anybody knows anything regarding this topic, then I would have personally interviewed them to pry their brains of their thoughts and opinions on this topic. Alas, nobody wanted an interview. I apologize that this article has nothing to do with our C&C community.]
Sources: Goal.com, New York Post, Zee News, KTLA 5 Morning News, and The Washington Post