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Emiliano Sala - the unorthodox Argentine striker made in France

AFP  |  Nantes (France) 

He was born in Argentina, made his name in but lost his life over the on his way to play for a Welsh club.

On Thursday, it was confirmed that a body recovered by British investigators from the submerged wreckage of a plane that went down in the Channel was that of

The 28-year-old had agreed to leave Nantes in for in the for a reported 17 million euros last month.

"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 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 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 daily Ole last month carried a headline: "Who is "

That is because, like many talented young footballers in Argentina, Sala left for at such a young age.

Born in the province of Santa Fe, Sala developed as a at Proyecto Crecer (Growth Project), an academy based in the town of San Francisco, four hours north of the capital

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, Valentin Vada, is currently in their first-team squad.

Having joined aged 20 in 2010, Sala never really broke into their first team, but he had prolific spells on loan in the French lower leagues, including at Niort in

After another loan stint at 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.

Despite Sala's importance to Nantes, he was keen to move on, and club was keen to cash in on a whose contract was due to expire in 2020.

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 again on what proved to be his doomed flight.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, February 08 2019. 10:00 IST