Tragic news emerged on Saturday morning of the death of former Arsenal, Real Madrid and Seville star, Jose Antonio Reyes.
The sad event occurred in a car crash in Utrera, near Seville.
An official statement from Sevilla read;
“We couldn’t be confirming worse news. Beloved Sevilla star José Antonio Reyes has died in a traffic collision. Rest in peace. “
Born in Utrera, a suburb of Seville, Reyes joined the local club in his community, Sevilla FC at the age of 10 and represented them at all age levels. He made his professional debut at age 16 against Real Zaragoza in the 1999/2000 season, few months after signing his first professional contract.
His fine performance that season led to him being called up fly the Spanish U-17 team for the UEFA U-17 championships. He spent 4 seasons at Sevilla, scoring 25 goals.
His fine form didn’t go unnoticed and soon, top clubs in Europe got interested. Eventually, Arsenal won the race to sign him in the winter transfer window of 2004. It was a deal worth £17m and at that time, was Arsenal’s record transfer deal.
Reyes made his debut for Arsenal against Manchester City few days after and scored his first goals for the club in 2-0 win over Chelsea in the FA Cup. His goals late in the 2003/04 season were so crucial and helped keep Arsenal’s historic unbeaten record intact and hereby winning the premier league in his first season with the club.
He started his first full season with Arsenal in fine form, scoring in the first six games of the season and winning the first player of the month award for the month of August 2004.
He started having issues in the latter stages of his time at Arsenal and complained of feeling homesick. He later transferred to Real Madrid in a swap deal with Julio Baptista moving the other way.
Reyes later played for Atletico, Espanyol and then Sevilla in an illustrious career where he won 12 major trophies.
He left behind his wife, Noelia, with whom he had two daughters, Noelia and Triana. He also had a son from a previous relationship with Ana Lopez, Jose Antonio Reyes Lopez.