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29th Nov 2016

David de Gea pays tribute to former teammate who died in Colombia plane crash

Former club Atlético Madrid have also shared a message.

Tom Victor

The footballing world is still coming to terms with the huge loss of life as a plane carrying Brazilian club Chapecoense crashed in Colombia, killing 76 of the 81 on board.

Tributes have been paid from across South America, where the team were due to compete in the final of the Copa Sudamericana – the continent’s equivalent of the Europa League.

Fellow finalists Atlético Nacional have called on the continent’s governing body, Conmebol, to award Chapecoense the trophy, while other clubs have offered to loan players to them for free.

Meanwhile, here in the UK, Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea has a personal connection to the tragedy, and has today paid tribute to his former teammate Cléber Santana.

De Gea played with the Brazilian midfielder at Atlético Madrid, with both featuring in the 2009/10 campaign which ended with Atléti lifting the Europa League trophy after beating Fulham in the final.

Cléber returned to Brazil after that campaign, initially with São Paulo, and had been part of the team which held firm to defeat San Lorenzo in this year’s Copa Sudamaricana semi-finals to set up the meeting with Atlético Nacional.

Atlético Madrid have shared their shock at the news, and fans of the Spanish club have paid tribute to their former player, who was just 35 years old, as well as calling for a minute’s silence before this weekend’s game a the Estadio Vicente Calderón.