Mourners line streets for  funeral of Arsenal hero

THOUSANDS of mourners, in the Sevilla province town of Utrera, lined the pavements to give former Arsenal star José Antonio Reyes a standing ovation, as his coffin was carried through the streets, draped in the CF Sevilla coat of arms.

The 35-year-old was killed outright in a crash on the road between Sevilla and Utrera last Saturday at 11.40am, on his way home from training.

A Guardia Civil reconstruction appears to show that his speeding car brushed against the motorway crash-barrier, bursting a tyre before catching fire.

Two of Reyes’ male cousins were travelling in the car with him, one of whom was also killed immediately, while the other is in a critical condition in hospital, with burns to 60% of his body.

Reyes, the youngest player ever to make his début in La Liga, started out with CF Sevilla as a 16-year-old in 1999, and stayed with the club until 2003 when he was transferred to Arsenal for around €30m.

José Antonio became the first Spaniard ever to win a Premier League title, in 2004, with Arsenal’s unbeaten “Invincibles”, and he went on to win the FA Cup with them the following season.

He moved to Real Madrid for one season in 2006, winning the Spanish League title in 2007, before playing for a year for Atlético de Madrid and then another with Benfica, with whom he won a League Cup, before returning to Atlético until 2011.

Reyes then went back to his first club, Sevilla, and continued there for five years. He was playing for Second Division Extremadura UD at the time of his death, having appeared for RCD Espanyol, Córdoba CF and China’s Xinjiang Tianshan in China in between.

José Antonio won five UEFA Europa League titles, two with Atlético de Madrid and three with Sevilla, plus the Europa Supercup in 2010 and an Intertoto Cup in 2007, both with Atlético.

He was also a Spanish international, appearing in the 2006 World Cup, in which the team failed to reach the quarter-finals.

Arsenal, for whom he made 110 appearances, said Reyes had a special place in the club’s history, describing him a hugely popular figure. “He will always hold a special place in our hearts,” they added.

A “deeply-sad” Unai Emery, who coached Reyes at Sevilla from 2013-16, said: “I’ll never forget your magic and your smile, José, never. It was an honour to be by your side.”


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Posted by on Jun 7 2019. Filed under Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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