Argentines pay tribute to Sala at special memorial

Argentines pay tribute to Sala at special memorial”

A funeral for Emiliano Sala was due to take place in Progreso in the Argentinian province of Santa Fe on Saturday, with Cardiff manager Neil Warnock and chief executive Ken Choo both expended to attend.

The 28-year-old Sala's body received a hero's welcome in Progreso where much of the grieving population paid their last respects to their football idol before the body was taken away for cremation.

The pilot of the aircraft, David Ibbotson, is still missing.

Representing Nantes, for whom Sala scored 42 goals in 120 league appearances, were defender Nicolas Pallois and general secretary Loic Morin.

A public vigil, expected to last for several hours, will be held in the gymnasium of Mr Sala's boyhood club San Martin de Progreso. It's like the whole village is part of it; I've never known anything like it.

Sala's body was recovered from the wreckage following a privately-funded search and was repatriated to Argentina on Friday.

"It's as if he was a member of my family", said a sobbing Lucia Torres, who lives nearby. "He meant a lot to us". "We're a small village and Emi was a celebrity, the only player to turn professional". I think he was going to be very instrumental in what we were looking to do.

Sala had signed for the English Premier League in a club record 15 million pound (19 million USA dollars) deal from the French Ligue 1 side just a few days before the tragedy truncated his life.

Just two days after making the move, Sala had flown back to Nantes on January 21 to pay farewell to his former teammates.

"It was important for us to come and pay the respect to the family", Warnock told AFP.

The Mail on Sunday are now reporting that Cardiff have contacted Everton, Crystal Palace and West Ham to ascertain whether any of the three clubs were interested in signing Sala during the January transfer window.

Sala's father, mother, sister and friends were seen arriving at the ceremony and dozens of local people filed in after them. I chased him, I wanted him. "I was a San Martin player myself in the 1960s", he said.

Sala was born in October 1990 at Esperanza, Santa Fe, Argentina.

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