Football legends offer to play for tragic Brazilian club
After the terrible tragedy this week that left 71 people dead after a plane carrying a football team crashed, Brazilian legends Ronaldhino and Riquelme have offered to play for the club in order to help it recover.
71 people died in the crash in the mountainous region near Medellin in Colombia, including 19 first-team members, with Brazilian club Chapecoense travelling across the continent for their Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional.
The funerals of the Chapecoense players will take place later today, with Fifa president Gianni Infantino travelling to Brazil to attend after postponing his trip to Australia for the women’s Under-20s World Cup, and thousands of fans have taken part in three days of national mourning across the country.
The crash has triggered emotional tributes across the world, none more so than in South America, where 45,000 fans turned out at Atletico Nacional’s Atanasio Girardot Sports Complex stadium to pay tribute to Chapecoense on Wednesday night when they should have been playing in the first leg of the final.
In an effort to help out the club, both Ronaldinho and former Argentina international Juan Roman Riquelme are reported to be willing to sign for the club and help them out in a desperate time of need.
Ronaldinho’s agent and brother, Roberto Assis, confirmed that the former Brazil international is ready to help out the club in any way possible, though he did stress that no talks have been held as now is not the time to discuss football with the tragedy still fresh in everyone’s minds.
Ronaldinho, 36, has received numerous messages from his fans on social media, asking him to play again following Monday's tragedy in Medellin that took the lives of 71 people, including 19 Chapecoense players.
Ronaldinho was particularly affected by the death of Chapecoense right-back Matheus Bibeco, a family friend who, like Ronaldinho, also started his career at his home club Gremio.