On Saturday morning, the tragic news broke that former Arsenal player and former Spanish international Jose Antonio Reyes passed away from injuries sustained in a traffic accident in Spain. He was 35 years old.
Reyes signed with Arsenal from Sevilla in January of the 2003-2004 season and featured for the Gunners during their incredible Invincibles season. Playing alongside such Arsenal legends as Theirry Henry and Patrick Vieira, Reyes’ contributions were vital to the Gunners’ late season push to secure England’s first unbeaten side in over 100 years, a feat that has yet to be matched.
Beginning his playing career in Sevilla’s academy, Reyes returned to Sevilla in 2012 after brief cameos at Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, and Benfica. During his second stint at Sevilla, he played under current Arsenal manager Unai Emery and helped the Spanish side win the Europa League three consecutive times. Reyes had been playing for Spanish Segunda División side Extramadura at the time of his passing.
Words of sympathy have been pouring in from the footballing community since the loss of Reyes, including his former club, his Arsenal teammates, and his former manager Arsene Wenger.
Everyone at Arsenal is devastated by the shocking news that our former player Jose Antonio Reyes has died in a traffic collision in Spain.— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) June 1, 2019
Jose Antonio Reyes: 1983-2019
Rest in peace, Jose ❤️ pic.twitter.com/AT6rLFutvI
I’m devastated to hear the sad news about José Antonio Reyes. Wonderful player, superb team mate and exceptional human being. I wish his family and friends continued strength and courage to get through this difficult time. #takenfartoosoon— Thierry Henry (@ThierryHenry) June 1, 2019
"I am devastated to hear the terrible news about Jose.— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) June 1, 2019
"To his family and friends, all support from everyone in the Arsenal family.
"He will remain forever in our hearts."
- Arsène Wenger pic.twitter.com/nrq6ldkSap
Profundamente triste y sin palabras tras conocer esta trágica noticia. Nunca olvidaré tu magia y tu sonrisa Jose, nunca. Fue un honor estar a tu lado... un fuerte abrazo y todo el ánimo del mundo a familiares, amigos y clubes a los que representó. RIP amigo pic.twitter.com/MHBonp8k8N— Unai Emery (@UnaiEmery_) June 1, 2019
While we have tendency to take the results of sporting events to heart, we tend to forget that the people on the pitch are just that: people. And the loss of a person will always out shadow any loss on the pitch.
We are constantly reminded of how fleeting life is. Reyes’ death at 35 is just another such reminder, as his untimely passing leaves a family devastated and a global community deeply saddened. So find something to enjoy today, tell a loved one that you are thinking about them, and be kind to those around you, because the only true Invincible is time.
We at the Short Fuse send our condolences and best wishes to the Reyes family.