The story appears on

Page A16

February 11, 2019

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Sports

FC Nantes fans bid final adieu to Sala

On a day of mourning for Emiliano Sala, Nantes players walked into the field dressed all in black with Sala’s name on their backs as the crowd chanted for him over and over again.

“La la la la la la la la, Em-il-ia-no,” fans sang, before breaking out in a minute’s applause. This was observed at all stadiums in the top two divisions in France this weekend in memory of the Argentina striker, who was killed in a plane crash at age 28.

Players from both sides, some with their heads down, stood in a circle and applauded at the Stade de la Beaujoire before yesterday’s game, which Nimes won 4-2.

Then the chanting returned, with a different refrain.

“Emiliano Sala, Emiliano, Emiliano, Emiliano Sa-la,” the 37,000-strong crowd sang with same unrelenting intensity Sala showed throughout his career with Nantes, Caen and Bordeaux — the club he joined nine years ago after leaving Argentina to forge a career in France.

Nimes players wore black armbands on their red jerseys.

The referee stopped the game after nine minutes — nine being the jersey number worn by Sala — and the fans chanted his name again as they applauded. Nantes has now retired the No. 9 as a tribute to Sala.

Before the game, a giant banner with Sala’s face on it was draped over the center circle, while the stadium’s big screen showed all the 48 goals he scored in 133 appearances for the club.

Sala scored his last goal for Nantes on December 5 in a 3-2 win over Marseille, a typically powerful header from the imposing striker.

He was killed in a plane crash in the English Channel last month and his body was recovered from the seabed wreckage this week. Sala had been flying from Nantes to Cardiff, about to start a new career in the English Premier League. At 28, he was at the prime age for a striker.

Throughout his career, Sala won respect and admiration wherever he played because of his work ethic and unselfish attitude on the field .

Those traits won him the admiration of Nantes coach Vahid Halilhodzic, himself a similarly hard-working striker with Nantes in the 1980s.

Sala was the ideal teammate, one who became a friend to several Nantes players.

He scored one goal for Bordeaux and then 19 for Orleans, 18 for Niort and five for Caen before joining Nantes in 2015.

Sala’s last game was also against Nimes on January 16.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend