A great foot­baller, al­ways11 hum­ble, al­ways smil­ing

Fabre­gas leads trib­utes af­ter ace Jose Reyes dies in hor­ror smash

Sunday Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - News - BY AMY SHARPE [email protected] mir­ror.co.uk TRIB­UTE With pal Fabre­gas

TRAGIC soccer star Jose An­to­nio Reyes was yes­ter­day hailed a “great foot­baller” and a “great per­son” as trib­utes poured in fol­low­ing his death in a hor­ror car crash.

even at -100C. I al­ways say you have been one of the great­est tal­ents in foot­ball.”

Reyes was one of Ar­se­nal’s In­vin­ci­bles – the only Pre­mier side ever to go an en­tire sea­son with­out de­feat in the 2003/2004 sea­son.

Their man­ager at the time Arsene Wenger wrote: “I am dev­as­tated to hear the ter­ri­ble news about Jose. To his fam­ily and friends, all sup­port from ev­ery­one in the Ar­se­nal fam­ily. He will re­main for­ever in our hearts.” Ex-Ar­se­nal ace Thierry Henry de­scribed him as a “su­perb team mate and ex­cep­tional hu­man be­ing”.

For­mer Gun­ners winger Fred­die Ljung­berg said he was “numbed” by the tragedy. Fan Piers Mor­gan called the news “des­per­ately sad & shock­ing”.

Reyes be­gan his ca­reer at Sevilla FC at 16, be­com­ing the youngest player to make a pro­fes­sional de­but at the club.

He notched up 21 caps for Spain and played at the 2006 World Cup. He leaves a wife Noelia Lopez, who he mar­ried in 2017, two daugh­ters Noelia and Tri­ana, and a son Jose An­to­nio.

mate as: “A hum­ble guy who al­ways had a smile on his face, great foot­baller and great per­son... My first great friend in the world of pro­fes­sional foot­ball, my room­mate, who al­ways wanted to sleep with the air-conditioni­ng

The for­mer Ar­se­nal striker, 35, was on his way home from his Span­ish club when his car ex­ploded in a ball of flames.

His 23-year-old cousin Jonathan Reyes was also killed in the crash. An­other cousin, Juan Manuel Calderon, was rushed to hos­pi­tal with hor­rific burns. His con­di­tion was last night “very se­ri­ous”.

Lo­cal me­dia say in­ves­ti­ga­tors be­lieve dad-of-three Reyes may have been driv­ing around 120mph - some 50mph over the speed limit - when his Mercedes Brabus

S550V came off a mo­tor­way, hit con­crete blocks, rolled sev­eral times and burst into flames.

No other ve­hi­cle was in­volved in the ac­ci­dent, near the town of Al­cala de Guada, be­tween his cur­rent club Ex­tremadura and his home­town Utr­era. The town has now de­clared two days of mourn­ing.

Cesc Fabre­gas, who played with Reyes at Ar­se­nal and for Spain, led the out­pour­ings of grief. The mid­fielder de­scribed his old team

WED With bride Noelia HERO At Ar­se­nal WRECK Crane lifts Mercedes MAN­GLED Burnt-out car at scene of crash

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