FFF leads tributes to Sala after striker’s body is identified

The football world has come together to pay tribute to the late Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala.

The French Football Federation (FFF) and the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) have led the tributes to Emiliano Sala.

Dorset Police confirmed on Thursday the body recovered from a plane wreckage in the English Channel was identified as that of the Cardiff City striker.

Ligue 1 matches will have a minute of applause before kick-off this weekend in honour of the former Nantes striker, who became Cardiff’s record signing last month.

Feature: Emiliano Sala obituary following UK police confirming his death

“It is with great sadness that we must acknowledge and admit the death of Emiliano, who disappeared on January 21 in tragic circumstances,” said FFF president Noel Le Graet. “We hope that all the light will be shed on the causes of this accident, which raises many questions.

“Emiliano was an exemplary player, a figure of Ligue 1. He was appreciated by everyone on and off the pitch. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.

“In this difficult moment, I also have a special thought for his friends, his former team-mates and the Nantes fans, who since the accident have not stopped expressing their attachment, their hope, their sorrow and have paid tribute.”

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Nathalie Boy de la Tour, president of the LFP, added: “On a personal level and like so many others, my heart is infinitely painful. Emiliano Sala embodied the joy of living, kindness, generosity and simplicity.

“The tribute paid to Emiliano during the Nantes-Saint-Etienne match demonstrated how much football can show solidarity to honour one of its family. Nantes have shown unfailing support to the family and friends of Emiliano.

“At the same time, many players and authorities responded to the call to support searches to find the missing plane and offer an answer to his family. This surge of solidarity that has gone beyond the borders of our championship demonstrates how much football is able to bring individuals together far beyond the pitch. This is its essential strength.

“We will all be united to pay a last tribute to Emiliano before the kick-off of this weekend’s matches. On behalf of French professional football, I wanted to thank each and every one of you for your support of Emiliano Sala’s family, who will remain forever in our hearts.”

Players including Sergio Aguero and Kylian Mbappe, as well as clubs from across the continent, paid tribute to the striker via social media.

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