Thursday 22 August 2019

Tributes paid to Reyes after 'wonderful, superb' ex-Arsenal player dies

Jose Antonio Reyes. Photo: Tony O'Brien/Action Images via Reuters
Jose Antonio Reyes. Photo: Tony O'Brien/Action Images via Reuters

Harriet Alexander

Former Arsenal footballer Jose Antonio Reyes has been killed in a car crash in Spain at the age of 35.

Reyes, who was part of Arsenal's unbeaten 'Invincibles' squad in 2003-04 and played for Spain, was driving from Seville to his home town of Utrera at 11.40am yesterday when his Mercedes Brabus S550 swerved off the road and caught fire.

Reyes's cousins Jonathan Reyes (23) and Juan Manuel Calderon also died in the accident.

Reyes was the youngest player to make his professional debut at Sevilla, playing for the team from the age of 16. He remained a hero in the Andalusian city, and the club was the first to announce the news.

Reyes also played for Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, among other clubs, in a professional career that spanned nearly 20 years. He helped Arsenal go unbeaten through the 2003-04 season, scoring two crucial goals toward the end of the campaign.

He also won a Spanish league title with Real Madrid, and five Europa Leagues with Sevilla and Atletico Madrid. He made 21 appearances for Spain, playing in the 2006 World Cup, and signed for Spanish second-tier club Extremadura this January.

Thierry Henry, his former Arsenal team-mate, said he was "devastated" by the news. "Wonderful player, superb team-mate and exceptional human being," Henry wrote on Twitter.

Sergio Ramos, the Real Madrid captain who like Reyes came up through the youth ranks at Sevilla and played alongside him for Spain and Real, also expressed his sadness. "Broken. Shattered. I have no words," Ramos wrote in Spanish on Twitter. "All the love to the family. We'll always remember you brother."

The Spanish football federation postponed the seven second-division matches scheduled to be played today.

Reyes leaves his wife of two years, Noelia Lopez, a model, and three children.


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