The burial service of Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala took place in his home town in Argentina on Saturday weeks after he was found dead in plane wreckage.
His body – on Friday on a British Airways flight – was expected to be headed to the town right off on Saturday morning from its medium-term resting place at a memorial service home Santa Fe.
Progreso civic chairman Julio Muller affirmed Emiliano sala’s body would come back to the city of Santa Fe an hour’s drive south after the eight-and-a-half-long wake completes so it very well may be cremated.
An open vigil was held in the city centre in Progreso, the humble town in the province of Santa Fe which Sala left as a youngster to forge a career in Europe. Sala’s dad, mom, sister and companions were seen arriving at the funeral service and many mourners filed in after them.
The 28-year-old kicked the bucket on January 21 just two days subsequent to securing a club record deal a £15 million ($19.3 million, 17.1 million euros) move to the Premier League club from French side Nantes.
The single-motor private plane conveying Sala and pilot David Ibbotson crash in the English Channel close Alderney. Sala had been flying back to Wales in the wake of coming back to France to bid a fond farewell to his former colleagues. The player’s body was recovered from the submerged wreckage on February 7 yet Ibbotson stays missing, with funds being raised to proceed with the search for the 59-year-old.
A huge number of people are expected to pay their last regards to the new Cardiff City forward at a wake-keeping in the sports hall of his childhood football club San Martin in the residential community of Progreso.
Cardiff City supervisor Neil Warnock and the club’s CEO Ken Choo both made the trip to Argentina to attend the funeral service. Nantes, for whom Sala scored 42 goals in 120 Ligue 1 games, were represented Nicolas Pallois and general secretary Loic Morin.
Sala, a lanky striker, started his early career at San Martin de Progreso, and the local club was at the focal point of Saturday’s function.
“People will be able to pass by the coffin, leave a letter, a drawing or flowers,” the club’s president, Daniel Ribero, told AFP.
“He represented a lot for us. We’re a small village and Emi was a celebrity, the only player to turn professional.”
One mourner, Miguel Angel Pereira, 68, made the 70-kilometre (43-mile) journey from Santa Fe to pay his respects.
“I wanted to be here. I was a San Martin player myself in the 1960s,” he said.