‘The streets were empty, the pain was immense’


‘The streets were empty, the pain was immense’

Jose Antonio Reyes

Growing up in south-west Spain, Dani Ceballos always dreamed of being like Jose Antonio Reyes.

Having shared the hometown of Utrera, a young Ceballos would regularly watch Reyes play for Sevilla, Real Madrid and Arsenal.
The 23-year-old has even followed in his hero's footsteps by signing for the latter two, and was left heartbroken when news broke of Reyes' death aged just 35.
“Jose’s death was a huge tragedy, not just for me but for the world of football," Ceballos told Arsenal Player. "He was a really important player for Spain and it’s a shame that he left us at such a young age.
“The family is trying to come to terms with the tragic death of their son. I spoke to his father and he congratulated me on signing for Arsenal. He told me that it was a massive club where his son came a long way. I feel a lot of affinity with him because I’m from Utrera too and now I’ve joined Arsenal, just like he did before me.
“I remember after he died, the people in Utrera… the streets were empty, the pain was immense. It was a tragic time. As far as I know it’s the worst thing that has ever happened in Utrera. He was loved by the whole village and it was shocking news both for me and for the village of Utrera as a whole.
“Jose always had time for people, especially kids. He was always out and about around the village and he always held himself very well.
"He was a very well-known person around Utrera and he loved being in his village, with his people… that meant that the people treated him like a regular guy. He was always a humble, simple person and you saw that throughout his career.”

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