Jose Antonio Reyes was laid to rest on Monday after his sudden death at the weekend in a car accident.
News of the 35-year-old’s passing emerged on Saturday. A Spain international who played for Real Madrid, Arsenal and his hometown club of Sevilla, Reyes was a familiar face to football fans all across the continent.
Sportsmail reflects on his career in football.
A boyhood Sevilla fan, Reyes emerged though the club’s youth academy and swiftly established himself as a regular. His first game was a 2-1 defeat by Barcelona but Reyes soon underlined his glowing potential, scoring in the next game, a 3-2 win against Espanyol, and promptly leading Sevilla to victory a few games later in a 2-0 win over Espanyol on October 3 (above)
Reyes pictured up against Real Madrid’s David Beckham during a La Liga encounter on November 9, 2003. It was a day to remember for Reyes because even though he didn’t score, his side ran out 4-1 winners against illustrious opposition. By now, clubs were scouting Reyes and he had made a name for himself as one of Europe’s most promising players.
Reyes made his Spain debut in 2003, coming on as a substitute in a 3-0 friendly victory against Portugal. He went on to make a total of 21 appearances for the national side and scored four times.
Reyes joined Arsenal at just 20 years old, with Arsene Wenger splashing out £17m to bring him in from Sevilla. The move made him Arsenal’s then record signing. Here, he is pictured at his unveiling on January 30, 2004 where it was announced he would take the No 9 shirt. ‘I am the happiest man in the world and at the same time the saddest,’ he told his personal website. ‘There’s no doubt that this is a huge moment in my career, but I won’t forget I’m leaving the club (Sevilla) I love with all my heart and everything has happened so quickly it has seemed like a film.’
Reyes was thrown straight into the Arsenal team and made his debut in the 2-1 win over Manchester City at Highbury. Reyes replaced Dennis Bergkamp in the 69th minute and the Gunners emerged victorious thanks to an own goal from Michael Tarnat and a sensational effort from Thierry Henry. Nicholas Anelka scored for City.
Reyes went straight into the ‘Invincible’ Arsenal team of 2003-04 and helped them on their way to the title. Arsenal won 26 and drew 12 of their 38 Premier League matches and sealed glory with a 2-2 draw against fierce rivals Tottenham at White Hart Lane on April 25, 2004. Reyes scored five goals in 21 appearances in that half-season for Arsenal.
Reyes was man-of-the-match as Arsenal defeated Manchester United 3-1 in the 2004 Community Shield at the Millennium Stadium. In a frenetic eight minutes, Gilberto Silva (right) put Arsenal ahead before Alan Smith equalised. Reyes theb notched Arsenal’s second and a late Mikael Silvestre own goal made the game safe for Arsenal.
In 2005, Reyes helped Arsenal to FA Cup glory as they defeated Manchester United on penalties after drawing 0-0 in the final at the Millennium Stadium. Reyes was actually sent off in the last minute of added time for a second bookable offence. It provided a successful end to the season for Reyes but there were rumours that he was homesick in England and was contemplating a return to Spain. He signed a new six-year contract in July and underlined his excitement at Arsenal’s future.
Reyes stayed at Arsenal for one more season but in the summer of 2006, he sealed a return to Spain via a loan move to Real Madrid that saw Julio Baptista move in the opposite direction. Reyes played 30 times for the Spanish giants and scored six goals but the following season, he was on the move once again and this time, leaving Arsenal on a permanent basis.
Reyes signed for Atletico Madrid in 2007 and was unveiled at the Calderon Stadium on July 31. A move that was met with much anticipation in Spain proved to be underwhelming for all concerned as Reyes struggled to get a foothold in the first-team setup behind Maxi Rodriguez and Simao. He spent a year at the club before heading off on a loan move.
A season-long loan in Portugal gave Reyes regular football and he made 24 appearances for Benfica, scoring four times in the process. It paved the way for a more successful spell with Atletico when he returned there for the 2009-10 season.
When Reyes returned to Atletico, he was followed by Quique Sanchez Florez, who had been his manager at Benfica for the previous campaign. The season culminated with Europa League glory and Reyes played 78 minutes of the final, a 3-1 win against Premier League side Fulham, in Hamburg. The Europa League was a tournament Reyes would grow fond of.
Reyes sealed an emotional return to boyhood club Sevilla in January 2012, signing a three-year deal. ‘I’m back with a smile on my face from ear to ear. Today is one of the happiest days of my life,’ Reyes said. ‘For me it is a special motivation to lift a trophy with Sevilla. With the team we have it’s possible.’ He wasn’t wrong…
In 2014, Reyes and Sevilla defeated his former club Benfica on penalties to win the Europa League. Reyes played 78 minutes of the goalless final in Turin. Here, he is pictured celebrating the trophy with team-mate Vitolo but it was not long before Reyes had his hands on the trophy once again.
In 2015, Reyes captained Sevilla to Europa League glory as they ran out 3-2 winners against Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk. He played 58 minutes of the match and went up to collect the trophy at Warsaw’s National Stadium. It developed an extraordinary record that Sevilla were forging with Europe’s secondary competition.
Sevilla upset Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in the 2016 final in Switzerland at Basle’s St Jakob-Park. After falling a goal behind, Sevilla hit back to run out 3-1 winners with goals scored by Kevin Gameiro and a double from Coke. Reyes didn’t feature in the match day squad but was on hand to join the celebrations with the fans of the club he supported.
Reyes left Sevilla when his contract expired in 2016 and joined Espanyol, spending a year back under the guidance of Flores. He then had spells with second-tier Cordoba and Chinese side Xinjiang Tianshan Leopard before heading back to Spain with Extremadura in January 2019 (pictured playing for them in March 3 2019 against Las Palmas). Reyes died on Saturday at the age of 35 in a car accident.