Former Arsenal striker Jose Antonio Reyes dies, aged 35

Former Arsenal striker Jose Antonio Reyes dies, aged 35

Jose Antonio Reyes, the ex-Arsenal and Spain forward, has died in a car crash at the age of 35, former club Sevilla have announced.

Reyes was part of Arsenal’s ‘invincibles’ squad that won the 2004 Premier League title without suffering defeat.

He also played for Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Benfica during his career, as well as winning 21 caps for Spain.

Sevilla said in a statement on Twitter: “We couldn’t be confirming worse news. Beloved Sevilla star Jose Antonio Reyes has died in a traffic collision. Rest in peace.”

Reyes started his career at local club Sevilla and returned to the Andalusian side in 2012, helping them to win three successive Europa League titles.

He left the club in 2016 and played for Espanyol, Cordoba and Chinese side Xinjiang Tianshan Leopard before returning to Spain to join Extremadura earlier this year.

The second division club said in a statement on their Twitter account: “With a broken heart Extremadura UD announce the death of their player Jose Antonio Reyes in a traffic accident.”

As well as lifting three Europa League titles with Sevilla, he was also part of the Atletico Madrid squad that won the competition in 2010 and 2012.

Atletico said in a tweet: “The Atletico de Madrid family is in mourning. Our former player Jose Antonio Reyes has passed away. You will forever be in our hearts. Rest in peace.”

Reyes spent four years at Atletico after joining the club in 2007. The previous season he had helped Real Madrid win LaLiga during a season-long loan from Arsenal.

Reyes also helped Arsenal win the FA Cup and Community Shield during his time at the club, as well as reaching the 2006 Champions League final.

The Gunners said on their Twitter account: “Everyone at Arsenal is devastated by the shocking news that our former player Jose Antonio Reyes has died in a traffic collision in Spain.”

Reyes' former Arsenal team-mates Thierry Henry and Ray Parlour took to Twitter to express their condolences.

Henry tweeted: "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."

Parlour added: "So Sad team mate of mine and great talent RIP Jose."

Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos, who like Reyes came up through the youth ranks at Sevilla and was a team-mate of his with Spain and Real, tweeted his shock at the death of his friend.

The 33-year-old wrote in Spanish: "Broken. Destroyed. I have no words. All the love to the family. We'll always remember you, friend! RIP brother."

Scores of clubs across Spain and Europe also tweeted their condolences, including Barcelona who wrote: "FC Barcelona wishes 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 great trajectory in football. Rest in peace."

Portuguese giants Benfica, where Reyes played on loan for the 2008/09 season, added: "We're devastated to hear of the passing of our former player Jose Antonio Reyes. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. Rest in peace, Jose."

Arsenal manager Unai Emery, who was Reyes' coach when Sevilla won their hat-trick of Europa League titles, said he would never forget his former colleague.

He wrote on Twitter in Spanish: "Deeply sad and speechless after hearing this tragic news. I will never forget your magic and your smile Jose, never. It was an honour to be by your side... a strong hug and all the support in the world to the families, friends and clubs that you represented. RIP amigo."

Manchester City and Argentina striker Sergio Aguero, a team-mate of Reyes' at Atletico, tweeted: "Shaken by the death of Jose Antonio Reyes, very good friend and team-mate with whom I shared great moments. Much pain. My condolences and all my support to his family."

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has announced that the seven Segunda Division games scheduled to be played on Sunday would now be held on Tuesday evening following Reyes' death.

Extremadura, for whom Reyes had made nine appearances since joining in January, were due to play at Cadiz on Sunday in what is the penultimate round of regular-season fixtures.

Extremadura are 15th in the table on 49 points, seven above the relegation zone, and are scheduled to complete their season against Real Mallorca next weekend.

PA

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