Chapecoense team tragedy: Rooney, Pele, Neymar pay tribute as footballing world mourns plane crash

Speed News Desk | First published: 30 November 2016, 14:38 IST
AFP PHOTO / Nelson Almeida

The footballing world was dealt a tragic blow on 29 November, when at least 71 people were killed in a deadly crash involving a British Aerospace 146 short-haul plane. Among the passengers on the fateful flight was the 22-member squad of the Chapecoense team, who were on their way to Colombia to play the first of the two-game Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional of Medellin on 1 December.

Only three of the 22-member squad - Alan Ruschel, Jakson Follman and Zampier Neto - survived the crash. While goalkeeper Marcos Danilo Padilha was rushed to the hospital after being pulled out from the wreckage, he later succumbed to his injuries.

Of the other passengers, only two of the flight's crew members - Ximena Suárez and Erwin Tumiri - survived the crash, while all 21 of the journalists who were accompanying the Chapecoense team to the finals. - with the exception of scribe Rafael Valmorbida - died on the spot.

Plínio David de Nês Filho, the president of Chapecoense board told reporters: "There were lifelong friends on this flight ... and we think it will have been very hard for them to have survived this accident. This wasn't just a group of people who respected each other professionally. It was a family, a group of friends".

"Everybody laughed so much, even in defeat... There was a great atmosphere, great joy. Yesterday morning, when I said goodbye to them, they said that they were going off to make our dreams come true. We shared this dream with all our emotion. And in the early hours of this morning, that dream came to an end," he was quoted as saying.

People pay tribute to the players of Brazilian team Chapecoense Real AFP PHOTO / Nelson ALMEIDA
People surround a church during a mass AFP PHOTO / Nelson Almeida
People pay tribute to the players of Brazilian team Chapecoense Real AFP PHOTO / Nelson ALMEIDA

As news of the crash broke, many were quick to draw parallels to the 1985 Munich air disaster, as well as other air tragedies involving footballers.

While tributes poured in from fans and supporters around the world, the footballing fraternity stood united in their sorrow.

"Real Madrid CF expresses its sorrow at the tragic air crash involving the Brazilian club Chapecoense and extends its condolences to relatives and friends of the victims. At the same time, wishing an early recovery for the survivors," the club said in a message on its official statement. The Real Madrid team observed a few minutes of silence to mark the tragedy on 29 November.

Football clubs released official statements expressing their condolences over the incident, while players took to their social media accounts to pay tribute.

Here's a roundup of social media tributes from the footballing fraternity:

First published: 30 November 2016, 14:38 IST