Reyes’ family, friends pay respects at funeral

Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, Leagues, Real Madrid, Sevilla FC, Spanish Primera División, Story
Jose Antonio Reyes will be honoured by the Spanish FA following his death.

​Family, friends and former teammates paid their respects to footballer Jose Antonio Reyes, whose funeral was held in his home town of Utrera, Spain, on Monday morning, following his death in a car crash on Saturday.

Reyes’ body arrived to Utrera’s town hall on Sunday night, hours after thousands of fans and personalities had attended a wake at Sevilla’s Sanchez Pizjuan stadium, where he began his professional career.

Reyes’ coffin was carried through the streets of Utrera to the Santa Maria church where local resident said their goodbyes. The Utrera town hall has declared two days of mourning.

A flower arrangement from Arsenal coach Unai Emery and his staff was placed near to the coffin. Emery had coached Reyes for three-and-a-half seasons during the player’s second stint at Sevilla.

Meanwhile, the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has announced it will award Reyes the gold and diamond medal — its highest distinction.

Thousands of people had attended a wake which was held on Sunday evening at the Sanchez Pizjuan stadium for the former Sevilla, Arsenal and Real Madrid forward.

Reyes, 35, was on the books of Spanish second division side UD Extremadura and was heading home to Utrera on Saturday morning when he crashed.

“RFEF president Luis Rubiales has announced that during the general assembly that will take place on June 10, the RFEF’s gold and diamond medal will be posthumously awarded to the footballer,” a statement from the Spanish FA said.

Rubiales travelled to Seville to pay his respects to Reyes and said: “We are very affected, it’s very sad. He was an incredible player, a marvellous person. Spanish football will never forget him.”

Reyes earned 21 caps for Spain and was part of the 2006 World Cup squad. He won the Premier League title and FA Cup with Arsenal and was a member of the team which reached the 2006 Champions League final. However, it was at boyhood club Sevilla where he achieved the most success.

Reyes, who made his debut as a 16-year-old with Sevilla, won three consecutive Europa League titles during his second spell with the club to become the tournament’s record winner with five overall, having previously won it twice with Atletico Madrid.

The King of Spain sent his condolences to UD Extremadura, and wrote that he and his family are “very saddened” by his death.

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