Former Arsenal and Spain forward Jose Antonio Reyes has died in a traffic collision, his former club Sevilla has said.
“We couldn’t be confirming worse news,” Sevilla tweeted on Saturday.
Reyes, who shot to fame at Sevilla before a switch to Arsenal before spells at Real and Atletico Madrid, was 35 and on the books with second-tier Spanish club Extremadura.
His death was also confirmed by Extremadura.
“With broken hearts, we announce the news of our player Jose Antonio Reyes‘ death in a car crash and we ask for you to pray for his soul,” the club said.
Reyes was a member of Arsenal’s dominant Invincibles. The said it “is devastated by the shocking news.”
Reyes, who shot to fame at Sevilla before a switch to Arsenal, followed by spells at Real and Atletico Madrid, was on the books with second-tier Spanish club Extremadura.
The emergency services in Andalusia and the authorities in the player’s home town, Utrera, said Reyes died in an accident on the main road from Sevilla to Utrera. They said another member of his family also died and a third person was injured.
Spain captain Sergio Ramos, who is also from the province of Seville, came through the youth team just after Reyes and later played with him at Real Madrid also tweeted his grief.
“Broken. Shattered,” wrote Ramos. “I have no words. All the affection for the family. We will always remember you, my friend! RIP brother.”
Reyes won a European under-21 title with Spain in 2002 and went on to play 21 times for Spain between 2003 and 2006, scoring four goals.
He won Premier League and FA Cup medals at Arsenal and came on as a late substitute when the Gunners lost the 2006 Champions League final to Barcelona.
He helped Sevilla win the Spanish second division in his first stint at the club. He won the Europa League five times, twice with Atletico Madrid and three times in his second spell at Sevilla.
He also won domestic league titles with Real Madrid and Benfica.
After leaving Sevilla in 2016, Reyes played for Espanyol, Cordoba and Xinjian Tianshan in China, before arriving at Extremadura this year as a free agent.
Monchi, who overlapped with Reyes as a player at Sevilla and is now the club’s director of football, also tweeted his sadness and referred to wingback Antonio Puerta, who died of a cardiac arrest playing for Sevilla in 2007.
“Impossible news to believe, impossible to digest, that hard my God,” wrote Monchi. “What a left flank you are going to make, Antonio and you, up there.