A GoFundMe page set up to start a private search for missing Cardiff forward Emiliano Sala has reached its €300,000 (£260,000) target, with two boats looking for the Argentine this weekend.
Sala, Cardiff’s new €17m signing from Nantes, went missing on Monday when the Piper PA-46 Malibu plane he was travelling in disappeared over the English Channel and ended their three day search for the forward and pilot David Ibbotson on Thursday.
Paris-based football agency Sport Cover, who list Sala as a client, set up the GoFundMe page, which has attracted donations from footballers including Nantes manager Vahid Halilhodzic, Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan, Leicester City winger Demarai Gray, Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe who donated 30 thousand euros and Adrien Rabiot, and Bayern Munich’s Corentin Tolisso.
Sala’s family posted on the page their thanks for the “exceptional generosity” of those who gave.
Although the search for Sala’s plane has been officially called off, pleas from Argentinian football stars Lionel Messi, Diego Maradona and Sergio Aguero to keep looking have been made, while the Argentine government formally appealed to their French and British counterparts to restart it.
“President Mauricio Marci has instructed the foreign minister Jorge Faurie to make a formal request to the governments of Great Britain and France to ask that they maintain their search efforts,” a statement from the Argentine presidency said.
In France, a petition to have the search resumed has over 85,000 signatures.
Cardiff City will pay tribute to Sala before Tuesday’s Premier League clash at Arsenal, the Welsh club’s chief executive Ken Choo said on Friday.
“We’re going to plan a tribute on Tuesday at the Arsenal game for the fans to join in, and again at the home match against Bournemouth on Feb. 2,” Choo told Sky Sports. “We’re still planning the details and we’ll speak to the family as well. We’ll announce details in the next day or two.”
The Premier League confirmed there would be a moment of silence during all matches next week as a mark of respect for Sala and Ibbotson.
“I just want to say, the Premier League and Arsenal have been incredibly supportive of our club and this situation,” Choo added