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Tributes paid to Emiliano Sala ahead of Cardiff game

Cardiff City paid to Emiliano Sala ahead of clash against Southampton. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Southampton, UK Feb 10, 2019, 01.27 PM (IST)

Premier League teams Cardiff City and Southampton paid emotional tribute to Emiliano Sala ahead of their match on Saturday (February 9).

Both sides wore black armbands, with players and staff joining arms as they held a minute's silence at Southampton's St. Mary's Stadium for the Argentinian.

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.

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 club Cardiff for a club-record fee of 15 million pounds ($19.63 million) from French Ligue 1 club Nantes. He and the pilot, David Ibbotson, are believed to have died as the single-engined Piper Malibu aircraft crashed into the sea.