London: Fulham boss Claudio Ranieri described Cardiff City forward Emiliano Sala as a “fighter” and said he was “devastated” to hear that he was on board a flight that disappeared over the English Channel on Monday.
Sala, who had completed a 17 million euros ($19.32 million) transfer from Ligue 1 side Nantes to Cardiff, was flying to the Welsh capital when the aircraft lost radar contact near the island of Guernsey.
The search for him resumed on Wednesday 36 hours after the light aircraft he was flying on disappeared in the English Channel.
“We have resumed searching,” Guernsey police said. “Two planes are taking off and will search a targeted area we believe has the highest likelihood of finding anything, based on review of the tides and weather since it went missing.”
Rescue aircraft and boats had searched more than 1,000 square miles (2,590 square km) of sea for the single-engine Piper Malibu by midday on Tuesday.
The 28-year-old Argentine forward played under Ranieri at Nantes last season and finished the campaign as the club’s top-scorer with 12 goals.
“Emiliano is a wonderful character,” Ranieri told Fulham’s website. “He’s a fantastic footballer who always gave his best when we worked together in France.
“Knowing him as a person, he’s a fighter.”
AS Monaco manager Thierry Henry posted a message on Twitter, saying: “Devastating news about Emiliano Sala. Wishing and praying for strength, courage and some good news for his family and friends.”
West Ham United’s Argentine defender Pablo Zabaleta said on Twitter he was hoping for positive news: “All my thoughts with the player, pilot, their families and @CardiffCityFC.”