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Nantes hold emotional tribute to Emiliano Sala before match

Nantes players, staff members and Nantes' Bosnian head coach Vahid Halilhodzic (C-R) pay tribute to late Argentinian forward Emiliano Sala. Photograph:( AFP )

Reuters Nantes, France Feb 10, 2019, 09.29 PM (IST)

Ligue 1 sides Nantes and Nimes paid an emotional tribute to Emiliano Sala before their match on Sunday (February 10).

Nantes, where Sala spent four seasons, wore black shirts with the name 'Sala' stuck to their back. Nantes fans also held up the number 9 in memory of the Argentine.

Players and coaching staff from both sides joined the Nantes fans in applauding and cheering in memory of Sala who died in a plane crash.

Sala, 28, had been en route from Nantes in western France on Jan. 21 to make his debut for Cardiff when the plane he was travelling in disappeared over the English Channel.

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The wreckage was found last Sunday (February 3) following a privately-funded underwater search.

The body of Sala was recovered from the crashed plane but attempts to recover the aircraft wreckage itself were unsuccessful. The overall operation was brought to an end due to "poor weather conditions," the agency said.

Sala had agreed to join Welsh Premier League club Cardiff for a club-record fee of 15 million pounds ($19.63 million) from Nantes. He and the pilot, David Ibbotson, are believed to have died as the single-engined Piper Malibu aircraft crashed into the sea.