Messi calls for search to continue for missing Sala

Lionel Messi urged investigators to resume the search for missing striker Emiliano Sala, after police called off rescue operations and admitted the chances of finding him were "extremely remote".
Lionel Messi urged investigators to resume the search for missing striker Emiliano Sala, after police called off rescue operations and admitted the chances of finding him were "extremely remote". PHOTO: REUTERS

BARCELONA • Lionel Messi on Friday urged investigators to resume the search for missing striker Emiliano Sala, after police called off rescue operations and admitted the chances of finding him were "extremely remote".

Police from Guernsey abandoned the search on Thursday, after the light aircraft taking the Argentinian to Wales following his signing with Cardiff from Ligue 1 side Nantes disappeared from radar near the British island on Monday.

"While there is the possibility, a shred of hope, we ask that you please #NoDejenDeBuscar (don't stop searching) for Emiliano. All my strength to your family and friends," said the Barcelona striker on Instagram, with the hashtag #PRAYFORSALA.

His plea comes after Sala's father and other players, including Manchester City's Sergio Aguero, begged authorities to continue.

Sala's family have also asked Nantes not to commemorate the 28-year-old at today's French Cup clash with third-tier Entente Sannois Saint-Gratien.

"We ask you to respect the family who absolutely refuse to talk about mourning and ask us to keep believing," Nantes captain Valentin Rongier told more than 300 fans who attended an open training session on Thursday.

"It is for this reason that we are not going to have a minute's silence or a minute's applause because we still have hope."

Sala's sister, Romina, also vowed that she would never stop looking for her brother, before thanking Messi for his support.

She told a press conference in Cardiff on Friday: "He is a fighter. All he wanted was to play football and fulfil his dream. We are not going to stop looking, we are never going to stop."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 27, 2019, with the headline 'Messi calls for search to continue for missing Sala'. Print Edition | Subscribe