The coffin of former Arsenal and Spain footballer Jose Antonio Reyes was carried through the streets of his hometown on Monday morning as mourners gathered for his funeral following his tragic death at the age of 35.
Reyes died on Saturday after losing control of his Mercedes when it punctured a tyre while he was doing 147mph, it was reported by Spanish sports daily Mundo Deportivo.
The ex-Sevilla star’s body was carried from Utrera’s Town Hall, where it was held for an overnight wake, to Santa Maria Church on Monday, with a large crowd lining the streets to pay their final respects.
Hundreds of mourners watch on as Jose Antonio Reyes’ coffin is carried into Santa Maria church in Utrera, Spain, on Monday
A picture of of Reyes and his children, with the message ‘ I love you, dad’, sits on top of his coffin inside the church
Reyes’ family and friends watch on as his coffin is carried into the church for Monday morning’s funeral service
Reyes and his cousin, Jonathan Reyes, were killed in a car crash on Saturday after reportedly travelling at 147mph
Onlookers began to clap as a tribute as the pallbearers appeared after standing in respectful silence as the hearse in front of them passed by first.
Well-wishers outside the town hall also broke into spontaneous applause as the coffin was brought out, with some shouting ‘Reyes campeon’ – Spanish for ‘Reyes champion.’
Reyes’ family and friends then joined hundreds of locals inside the church for the emotional service, which was held just two days after the horrific accident which killed him and his cousin, Jonathan Reyes, 23.
A picture of Reyes with his two daughters, Noelia and Triana, was placed on top of his coffin inside the church, complete with a hand-written message reading ‘I love you, dad’.
Arsenal manager Unai Emery was among those who attended Reyes’ funeral, along with Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos and Sevilla president Jose Castro.
Reyes’ father, Francisco, was pictured holding a white rose as he was helped out of the church shortly after the funeral. He appeared to be overcome by grief at one point, covering his face with one hand.
Reyes’ father, Francisco, carries a rose as he is helped out of the church after attending his son’s funeral on Monday morning
Francisco appears to be overcome by grief as he covers his face shortly after Reyes’ funeral at Santa Maria church
Reyes’ father is helped past the hearse by two friends as he says goodbye to his son just two days after his tragic death
After the completion of the service, Reyes’ coffin was carried through the sea of mourners and placed inside a hearse outside the church.
The vehicle was adorned with floral tributes, including the message ‘siempre contigo’, which translates as ‘always with you’.
The hearse was driven slowly through the nearby streets, with more people lining up to catch a glimpse of Reyes’ coffin and pay their final respects.
His body was due to be taken to the municipal cemetery in Utrera where his cremated ashes were set to be buried in the presence of only his family and close friends.
Reyes’ coffin is covered in the flags of his hometown, Utrera, and his former club Sevilla as it carried out of the church
Cameras surround a hearse as Reyes’ coffin is placed inside following the conclusion on Monday’s funeral service
Reyes’ friends and family walk behind the hearse, which was adorned with a message of remembrance from his wife Noelia
The hearse containing Reyes’ coffin is driven away following the service. His cremated ashes are expected to be buried later
Meanwhile, Reyes’ widow, Noelia Lopez, has published an emotional goodbye to her footballer husband.
The mum-of-two posted the message on her Instagram account alongside footage of the former Atletico Madrid star cuddling their daughters Noelia and Triana.
Opening her heart shortly before his funeral near Seville, she wrote: ‘Love of my life, I cannot bear this pain. You’ve left us so alone. You’ve taken my will to live.
‘Today I have to say goodbye to you but I don’t have the strength and I will say ‘See you soon’ because we will be together for ever.
‘Wait for me my love. We will be a family once again wherever you are.
‘That day you were coming back from a long trip and you arrived with those that gave you life, that life that was snuffed out.
‘Help me because I cannot imagine my life without you. Help me raise our daughters. Give me strength where I don’t have it.
Reyes coffin is carried through the streets of his hometown of Utrera in Spain shortly before the start of his funeral
Reyes’ body is transported from the Town Hall to Santa Maria Church ahead of his funeral, just two days after his death
He leaves behind three children; daughters Noelia and Triana, son Jose Antonio Jr and wife Noelia Lopez, who he married in June 2017. Above: Reyes and Ms Lopez on their wedding day
Reyes married Noelia, the mother of two of his children, at Virgen de la Consolacion church in Utrera in the summer of 2017
‘We will always think of you and you will live on forever in our hearts. You’ve given us the best life and you leave the best memories.
‘You will look at me in Noelia’s eyes and you will smile with me in Triana’s smile.
‘I love you and will love you for ever.’
Mundo Deportivo said a preliminary police report into the accident pointed to a blowout as the former Real Madrid loanee was going at more than 70mph above the speed limit as the probable cause of the accident that killed him and a cousin.
It also reported he had not driven the vehicle, one of a fleet of high-powered cars he owned, for several months and the tyre pressure was not what it should have been.
The 35-year-old footballer and his cousin died instantly after the Mercedes Brabus S550V went off the A-376 motorway just before midday on Saturday near the town of Alcala de Guadaira close to Seville.
Reyes’ Mercedes S Class, pictured, was completely destroyed after it rolled over and burst into flames after leaving the road. A police report said he was driving 70mph over the limit
The wreckage of Reyes’ car is taken away on a tow truck just hours after the accident in Alcala de Guadaira, Seville
Former Arsenal star Reyes is pictured at the wheel of a car in an image he posted to his Instagram account back in 2015
The vehicle is thought to have hit some concrete blocks by the side of the motorway before flipping over and bursting into flames.
Another cousin of dad-of-three Reyes, named as Juan Manuel Calderon, was initially reported to have died although it later emerged he had managed to get out of the charred vehicle and had been rushed to hospital in Seville with serious burns.
A spokesman for the Civil Guard force in Seville, the police force which is investigating the crash the footballer died in, said he was unable to comment on the report that Reyes probably lost control of his Mercedes after a tyre blowout as he was doing an estimated 147mph.
Local paper Diario de Sevilla said the speedometer on the car was burnt and crash investigators must measure the spot from the first brake marks to the place where the vehicle ended up to try to determine how fast Reyes was going.
The Civil Guard spokesman said: ‘There is nothing official at this stage that we can release. In any case normal procedure would be for the police investigators to send a full report to the court investigating this incident rather than release any information from it to the press.’
Diario de Sevilla, which said the vehicle had become a ball of fire, reported on Saturday that well-placed sources had said they thought Reyes may have been driving at around 120mph, some 50mph over the speed limit.
The footballer was returning with his two passengers after a training session at Extremadura, the club he was playing for, to his home in his native Utrera near Seville.
Reyes’ eldest son penned an emotional tribute to his dad after his shock car crash death.
Jose Reyes Lopez, the former Arsenal star’s only child with former partner Ana Lopez, posted a picture of his father late on Saturday night with his arm round him alongside a message in Spanish which said: ‘This is the last moment we spent together dad.
‘That day you gave me advice as always, but today you have gone and are not coming back and it is a very difficult day for me.
The father-of-three footballer is pictured kissing the trophy after winning the UEFA Europa League final with Sevilla in 2016
Reyes also played for Arsenal (left) and finished his career with Spanish second division side Extremadura (right)
Reyes signed for Arsenal during the 2003-04 season and went on to win the Premier League title under Arsene Wenger
Reyes played for both Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid during his illustrious playing career as a left winger
‘I was and always will be very proud of you daddy.
‘We didn’t spend all the time we would have liked to together but only you and I know how much we loved each other.
‘I know you will look after me from Heaven and I am never going to forget you. I love you dad.’
The youngster, one of Reyes three children with two different women, added: ‘Thanks to everyone for the messages of support I’m receiving.’
Well-wishers responded by offering the 11-year-old their condolences.
Retired goalie Santiago Canizares, who played with Reyes fro Spain, criticised Reyes for driving at high speed over the weekend.
He tweeted: ‘Speeding shows a reprehensible attitude.
‘There were victims in the accident apart from the driver. He does not deserve a tribute as if he were a hero.
‘But that does not mean I regret what happened and I pray for their souls.’