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Henry and Ljungberg lead tributes for Reyes after tragic death of former Arsenal star

The ex-Real Madrid winger lost his life in a traffic accident on Saturday.

Reyes and Henry were team-mates at Arsenal.
Reyes and Henry were team-mates at Arsenal.
Image: JIM WATSON

JOSE ANTONIO REYES tragically died in a car accident on Saturday, with the football world mourning his passing.

A plethora of clubs and former team-mates have taken to social media to express their grief and convey their condolences to his family.

Thierry Henry and Freddie Ljungberg, who both played alongside the Spaniard during his time at Arsenal, have posted messages on Twitter, with a number of football clubs around Europe also passing on messages of sadness and support to the family.

“I’m devastated to hear the sad news about José 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,” Henry wrote

“Numbed by the news about my former team-mate, Jose Antonio Reyes. Gone far too soon, my thoughts are with his family and friends,” Ljungberg said

Reyes shot to fame at Sevilla before a switch to Arsenal where he was part of the unbeaten ‘Invincibles’ 2003-2004 Premier League winners, before spells at Real and Atletico Madrid.

Uefa announced they would hold a minute’s silence in his honour ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final between Tottenham and Liverpool.

Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger signed Reyes on the back of Spain’s U19s European Championships win where he played alongside Fernando Torres and Andres Iniesta, and a dazzling series of matches with Sevilla the following season.

Arsenal described the accident as “awful news”.

“Reyes was, of course, a member of the Invincibles,” Arsenal said on their website.

“(He) made a significant contribution to that unbeaten season.”

“Thanks for what you gave us, and rest in peace,” Arsenal said.

He won Premier League and FA Cup medals at Arsenal and came on as a late substitute when the Gunners lost the 2006 Champions League final to Barcelona.

“We couldn’t be confirming worse news,” Sevilla said when breaking the news.

“Beloved Sevilla star Jose Antonio Reyes has died in a traffic collision. Rest in peace,” Sevilla, where he spent two four-year spells, said on Twitter.

He helped Sevilla win the Spanish second division in his first stint at the club. He won the Europa League five times, twice with Atletico Madrid and three times in his second spell at Sevilla.

The emergency services in Andalusia and the authorities in the town where his family live, Utrera, said Reyes died in an accident on the main road from Sevilla to Utrera. They said another member of his family also died and a third person was injured.

Spain captain Sergio Ramos, who is also from the province of Seville, came through the youth team just after Reyes and later played with him at Real Madrid also tweeted his grief.  

“Broken. Shattered,” wrote Ramos. “I have no words. All the affection for the family. We will always remember you, my friend! RIP brother.”

Reyes played 21 times for Spain between 2003 and 2006, scoring four goals. He also won domestic league titles with Real Madrid and Benfica.

After leaving Sevilla in 2016, Reyes played for Espanyol, Cordoba and Xinjian Tianshan in China, before arriving at Extremadura this year as a free agent. 

“With broken hearts we announce the news of our player Jose Antonio Reyes’ death in a car crash and we ask for you to pray for his soul,” Extremadura said.

Monchi, who overlapped with Reyes as a player at Sevilla and is now the club’s director of football, also tweeted his sadness and referred to wingback Antonio Puerta, who died of a cardiac arrest playing for Sevilla in 2007.

“Impossible news to believe, impossible to digest, that hard my God,” wrote Monchi. “What a left flank you are going to make, Antonio and you, up there.”

Additional reporting by AFP

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