The fairytale rise of Brazil’s Chapecoense — from small football club to national heroes — has been cut tragically short, leaving the country mourning the loss of one its most endearing sports teams.
On Tuesday, the airplane carrying the Brazilian team to the biggest game in the club’s history crashed in Rionegro, Colombia, killing 75 people.
Six people survived the crash and were taken to local hospitals, according to authorities.
Defender Alan Ruschel was one of the players who survived the crash.
“Yesterday morning I was saying goodbye to them, they told me they were going in search of the dream, to make this dream a reality.
“And we, very excitedly, shared this dream with them. But the dream was over this morning.”
Chapecoense was supposed to play the first leg of its Copa Sudamericana final today against Colombian side Atletico Nacional from Medellin before its plane came down.
“Chapecoense was one of the most lovely fairy tales,” Argentine sports journalist Martin Mazur told CNN.
“Unlike what happens with the big Brazilian clubs, Chapecoense’s humble story and its magnificent run in the Copa Sudamericana was naturally embraced by Brazilian football fans in general, becoming a fans’ favourite.
“It was South America’s Cinderella — nobody could have predicted this macabre ending.”