Pablo Zabaleta has paid tribute to Emiliano Sala after the tragic news that has dominated the football headlines this week.
Sala completed a £15 million club record transfer to Cardiff City last Saturday, before returning to former club Nantes to say his goodbyes to his former teammates. He was due to return to Cardiff on Monday evening, although his journey was never completed, with his plane disappearing from air traffic control radar screens while over the English channel.
Despite an exhaustive search through horrible weather conditions, search and rescue teams have been unable to locate the stricken aircraft, nor its two occupants, with lead investigators admitting that the chances of survival are ‘extremely remote,’ as the footballing world comes to terms with yet another air disaster.
It is a story that has touched so many people, and West Ham full-back and fellow Argentine Pablo Zabaleta has taken time to send out condolences to Sala’s family on behalf of the entire Hammers side.
“Every player in the West Ham United dressing room has been left upset by the apparent loss of Emiliano Sala and the pilot who was bringing him to start his new life in the Premier League with Cardiff City, David Ibbotson,” Zabaleta told whufc.com.
“It’s terrible, horrible news. When you see sometimes how life can be so cruel to people, you never know, so that’s why I always say to enjoy every single minute.
“I didn’t know Emiliano personally, but I know he is a player who has been in France for his whole professional career and he has done well there. It is a dream for many footballers to have the opportunity to come to play in the strongest league in the world and he was about to realise that dream.
“Emiliano went back to France to say goodbye to everybody he knew in Nantes, then he was making his way back to Cardiff and this terrible thing happened. Of course, we were all hoping for good news, but it seems now that he and David are gone.
“From what I have been told, he was a very good lad, so it is a tragic situation and difficult for us all to take in.
“It is a sad and emotional time and I would like to express condolences to everyone affected on behalf of the whole West Ham squad.”