"For me it feels special," the 1.87m-tall Argentine forward had said of his new career.
An imposing physical presence but also adept with his feet, Sala was leaving Ligue 1 having scored 12 goals this season.
- Little known back home -
That tally also matched his statistics for each of the last two campaigns, and only a certain Lionel Messi has scored more goals this season among Argentine players in the big five European leagues.
Despite that, Sala never played for his country and remained little known back in his homeland -- an article on the website of popular sports daily Ole last month carried a headline: "Who is Emiliano Sala?"
That is because, like many talented young footballers in Argentina, Sala left for Europe at such a young age.
The academy has a partnership with Bordeaux, and Sala was one of a handful of players to have gone from there to the French side. Another, midfielder Valentin Vada, is currently in their first-team squad.
After another loan stint at Ligue 1 side Caen, Sala was sold to Nantes in 2015 and quickly became a fan favourite for his performances in the famous yellow shirt of the Canaries.
Having finally put pen to paper on his move to Cardiff, Sala was back at Nantes' Joneliere training base to collect his belongings and wave goodbye to his former teammates before departing for Wales again on what proved to be his doomed flight.
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