Jose Antonio Reyes, former Sevilla, Atlético Madrid and Arsenal winger died in a car crash on Saturday. Sevilla, Reyes’s boyhood club, confirmed the news of his passing. He was 35.
Marca, a Spanish newspaper, reports that the incident happened in Reyes’s hometown of Utrera, Spain. Reyes was in a car driving down a highway with two of his cousins when the vehicle flew off the road which led to a fiery crash. One of Reyes’s cousins also died in the crash while the other was taken to a hospital to treat his life-threatening injuries.
Reyes made his professional debut for Sevilla in 1999 at the age of 16. He was the youngest debutant in the club’s history. He then joined Arsenal in the summer of 2003 and was part of The Invincibles that went undefeated for 38 games, the entirety of the Premier League season. His first goal for the club was an absolute screamer from outside the box against Chelsea in the FA Cup.
Along with a league title—he was the first Spaniard to win the Premier League—Reyes also won a Community Shield and FA Cup with the Gunners. Reyes won a La Liga title in 2007 while on loan at Real Madrid before heading to Atlético Madrid, where he won two Europa League titles. He then returned to his childhood club, Sevilla, in 2012. He brought his Europa League trophy count to five with three straight finals victories from 2014-2016.
His most recent club was Extremadura UD in Spain’s second-tier division, where he helped the struggling team avoid certain relegation. La Liga announced that all Segunda División games scheduled for Sunday, the next match on Extremadura’s schedule where Reyes was expected to play, would be postponed until Tuesday. UEFA added that a minute-long moment of silence would be observed before Saturday’s Champions League final.
Reyes has received a considerable outpouring of support from former teammates on social media, including former Arsenal teammate Thierry Henry.
English commentator John Motson said of the pairing during Arsenal’s 2-1 FA Cup win over Chelsea: “Chelsea’s dreams are disappearing, and Jose Antonio Reyes’ Arsenal dream is just starting. And if Thierry Henry is the king of Highbury, well, there’s a new prince.”