José Antonio Reyes, a Spanish soccer international who played for several of the biggest clubs in Europe, including Arsenal in the Premier League, died on Saturday in a car crash, his former club Sevilla FC announced. He was 35.
“We couldn’t be announcing any worse news. Our beloved former youth player Jose Antonio Reyes has died in a traffic accident. Rest in peace,” said a statement on Sevilla’s official Twitter account.
Reyes last played for Spanish second tier side Extremadura. He also played for Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid among other sides and the Spain national team, whom he represented at the 2006 World Cup.
Details of the car accident are scare. Local reports say the incident took place on the motorway between Utrera and Sevilla.
Reyes made his professional debut with Sevilla at the age of 16, moving to Arsenal in January 2004 for £17million. Here was part of Arsenal’s ‘invincibles’ squad that won the 2004 Premier League title without suffering defeat, scoring two league goals in 13 appearances.
He also helped Arsenal win the FA Cup and Community Shield during his time at the club, as well as reaching the 2006 Champions League final.
Arsenal paid tribute to the Reyes, saying: “Our thoughts are with all his family, friends and team-mates.
“Jose, who was part of the Invincibles team, was a hugely popular figure at our club and will always hold a special place in our hearts.
“He represented the club on 110 occasions, scoring 23 times and made memorable contributions to our 49-game unbeaten run.
“Rest in peace, Jose.”