Nantes to retire number 9 for Sala

Sala's body was recovered from the English Channel and formally identified on Thursday evening, almost three weeks after his plane crashed en route to Cardiff - whom he joined for a club-record €17 million.

The Ligue 1 side turned their official website to just a photo of Sala, with the words 'Noue ne t'oublierons jamais, Emi!' which translates as "We will never forget you, Emi!"

In a statement, he said: "I do not have the words, it's a tragedy, I'm devastated, Emiliano left his mark, which is why, like many fans, I want to honour him again by removing the number 9 ".

FIFA also released a statement, which read: "FIFA and the whole football community are deeply saddened about the death of Emiliano Sala.

"FIFA and its president Gianni Infantino would like to extend their sincerest condolences to his friends and family. Our thoughts are also with the family of pilot David Ibbotson."

Sala scored 73 goals and registered 19 assists in 200 appearances throughout his club career and was considered as a late bloomer entering the peak of his ability at the age of 28.

And Cardiff head coach Neil Warnock believes he would have thrived in the Premier League.

"I always thought he was a type of player that would score 10 or 15 for me at the top level every year," he said, as per Sky Sports.

"But not just that - he would work hard as a team player.

"He just fit the criteria for what I look for in a player - somebody who can do something special, but at the same time is a very good lad."

"He was at the prime, I felt, and he knew he had things to prove. He'd been in a comfort zone in France. He'd improved every year.

"I think he was ready, if a little bit fearful of the challenge ahead. But he knew he had to make that step. I thought he could score goals in the Premier League, and he did too."

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