‘A wonderful player and exceptional human being’: Thierry Henry leads tributes as former Arsenal and Real Madrid star Jose Antonio Reyes, 35, is killed in a car crash in Spain
- Former Arsenal star Jose Antonio Reyes died in a car crash on Saturday morning
- The incident reportedly took place in the town of Utrera, just outside of Seville
- Tributes have been pouring on social media for the Spanish winger, who was 35
- He won several honours during his career, including the Premier League title
Former Arsenal, Sevilla and Real Madrid star Jose Antonio Reyes has died in a car crash on Saturday morning at the age of 35.
Reyes was involved in a traffic collision in Utrera, the town of his birth located just outside of Seville. No further details have been announced.
A statement from Sevilla’s English Twitter account read: ‘We couldn’t be confirming worse news. Beloved Sevilla star Jose Antonio Reyes has died in a traffic collision. Rest in peace.’
Former Arsenal and Sevilla star Jose Antonio Reyes, pictured in March, has died in a car crash
Reyes signed for Arsenal during the 2003-04 season and went on to win the Premier League
He had been playing in the Spanish second-tier since January after signing a five-month deal with Extremadura.
Reyes, who won 21 caps for his Spain, started his career with hometown club Sevilla and made his first team debut at the age of 16.
He then signed for Arsenal during the 2003-04 ‘Invincibles’ campaign for around £15million and went on to win the Premier League, FA Cup and Community Shield. He was the first Spaniard to win the English title.
Reyes left north London to return to Spain with Real Madrid on loan before joining their rivals Atletico Madrid on a permanent deal in 2007, where he went on to win the Europa League twice.
He returned to Sevilla in 2012 and then represented Espanyol, Cordoba and Xinjiang Tianshan Leopard in China before signing for Extremadura in January. Reyes’ final match was a 1-0 win at Alcorcon on May 18 and his team are due to play on Sunday against Cadiz but it remains to be seen whether that will take place.
Extremadura paid tribute to Reyes in a tweet, saying: ‘With a shrunken soul and a broken heart we announced the death of Jose Antonio Reyes in a traffic accident. We pray for his soul.’
Reyes holds the record for the player with the most Europa League titles. He won the competition twice with Atletico and three times with Sevilla.
His most recent club, Extremadura, paid tribute to Reyes as they confirmed his death
Reyes played for both Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid during his illustrious playing career
Former Arsenal team-mate Thierry Henry led the tributes on social media, describing Reyes as an ‘exceptional human being’.
The Frenchman wrote: ‘I’m devastated to hear the sad news about Jose Antonio Reyes.
‘Wonderful player, superb team mate and exceptional human being. I wish his family and friends continued strength and courage to get through this difficult time. #takenfartoosoon’.
BT Sport presented Gary Lineker also tweeted, saying: ‘How terribly sad. RIP’.
Arsenal also paid homage to their former player, tweeting: ‘Everyone at Arsenal is devastated by the shocking news that our former player Jose Antonio Reyes has died in a traffic collision in Spain. Jose Antonio Reyes: 1983-2019 Rest in peace, Jose’.
North London rivals Tottenham, who are due to play in the Champions League final against Liverpool on Saturday night, also paid their respects.
They tweeted: ‘We are all deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Jose Antonio Reyes. All of our thoughts are with Jose’s friends and family, and everyone at Arsenal at this very difficult time.’
European governing body UEFA also tweeted a tribute to Reyes. It read: ‘Everyone at UEFA is shocked & hugely saddened to learn that José Antonio Reyes has died aged 35. A Spanish international with 5 Europa League titles, Reyes will be sorely missed by the football world. Our thoughts are with his family & friends at this terrible time.’
Barcelona wrote: ‘We want to express their deepest condolences for the death of footballer Jose Antonio Reyes, a brilliant and charismatic player; one of the most outstanding figures and with a longer trajectory of our football. Rest in peace.’
Spanish midfielder Borja Valero simply tweeted ‘RIP’ with heart emoji alongside a black and white picture of Reyes.
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