Emiliano Sala's funeral held in Argentina

Cardiff City footballer died in plane crash

Gustavo Garello/Getty Images

Football player of Nantes Nicolas Pallois (C) carries the coffin together with brother Sala's, Dario Sala (L), and relatives, after a vigil at Sala's boyhood club San Martin de Progreso on February 16, 2019 in Progreso, Argentina.

Family, friends and former teammates paid their respects to late footballer Emiliano Sala, whose funeral was held in the small Argentine town of Progreso Saturday.

Among those in attendance were former Nantes teammate Nicolas Pallois, who carried the coffin alongside Sala's brother Dario, and Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock.

Many local residents, some wearing shirts bearing Sala's name, made their way to San Martin de Progreso, the player's boyhood football club, throughout the afternoon to say their goodbyes.

A public service was held in the club's gymnasium, before a private service later in the evening.

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The 28-year-old died after his plane crashed over the English Channel last month, as he made his way to new club Cardiff.

The Argentine striker had joined the Welsh side for a reported £15 million ($19.3 million) from French side Nantes and was heading to Wales after saying farewell to his former teammates.

Sala began his football career at San Martin de Progreso before leaving to forge a professional career at 15.

The club posted a message on social media, writing: "We are waiting for you ... like the first day you left but this time to stay with us forever. You went and you are an example for everyone. Eternally in our hearts."

His body was recovered from the plane's wreckage last week, after a private search for the missing footballer and the plane's pilot, David Ibbotson, was commissioned by his family -- financed by a crowdfunding campaign.

Sala and the 59-year-old Ibbotson were flying in the single-turbine aircraft from Nantes, northern France, to the Welsh capital of Cardiff, when it disappeared from radar near the Channel Islands on January 21.

Ibbotson is presumed dead, though his body has not yet been recovered.

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