Spain legend Santiago Canizares says Jose Antonio Reyes ‘does not deserve a tribute like a hero.’
Former Arsenal forward Reyes tragically died in a car crash on Saturday morning just outside Seville aged 35.
Canizares, who played with Reyes for Spain, criticised Reyes for driving at a high speed.
Santiago Canizares says Jose Antonio Reyes ‘does not deserve a tribute like a hero’
Canizares tweeted: ‘Driving at high speed shows a reprehensible attitude’
Canizares (back row, third from left) and Reyes (second row, second from right) were both part of the Spain squad at the 2006 World Cup
Ex-Valencia and Real Madrid goalkeeper Canizares tweeted: ‘Driving at high speed shows a reprehensible attitude. In the accident there have been victims in addition to the driver.
‘Reyes does not deserve a tribute like a hero.
‘But that does not mean that I regret what happened and that I pray for their souls.’
Reyes’ cousin Jonathan, 23, a back seat passenger, also died.
A third cousin, named as Juan Manuel Calderon, managed to get out of the charred vehicle and was rushed to hospital in Seville with serious burns.
He is understood to remain in intensive care at Virgen del Rocio Hospital in the southern Spanish city.
Canizares backtracked afterwards, saying that Reyes deserved to ‘be remembered for his career’.
He tweeted: ‘Maybe I didn’t explain myself well.
‘Of course he deserves a tribute and be remembered for his career and contribution to football.’
‘I read a lot of opinions and I respect them all, especially the ones where I’m insulted and despised. I just pretend to condemn the insensibility and ask people to think about the mistakes we make, and I believe that’s perfectly compatible with the pain.’
Reyes’ funeral will take place on Monday morning in the footballer’s native town of Utrera after thousands of fans and well-wishers have had a chance to say their last goodbyes.
The former Seville player’s coffin was due to be taken to his old football club on Sunday afternoon where it will stay from 4pm to 9pm before being moved to Utrera Town Hall.
After an overnight wake at the town hall, where well-wishers will be able to say their last goodbyes and offer their condolences to Reyes’ friends and family, his coffin will be taken to Santa Maria Church in Utrera for a 9.30am funeral.
He is expected to be buried afterwards, although full details are yet to be made public.
The funeral of his cousin, 23-year-old Jonathan Reyes, has been scheduled for 6.30pm on Sunday.
Reyes’ funeral will take place on Monday morning in the footballer’s native town of Utrera
Seville FC president Pepe Castro confirmed the footballer’s coffin would be taken to the club on Sunday afternoon as he called the 35-year-old a ‘Seville legend.’
He said: ‘We are devastated. Seville has lost one of ours. We have been enormously hurt by what has happened.’
Reyes, who joined Arsenal in January 2004 and was part of the Invincibles side that went through the 2003-04 season unbeaten and won the Premier League, died just before midday on Saturday when his Mercedes Brabus S550V went off the A-376 motorway near the town of Alcala de Guadaira close to Seville.
The vehicle is thought to have hit some concrete blocks by the side of the motorway before flipping over and bursting into flames.
Reyes’ cousin Jonathan Reyes, 23, a back seat passenger, also died in the 120mph crash
The vehicle is thought to have hit some concrete blocks by the side of the motorway before flipping over and bursting into flames
Local paper Diario de Sevilla, which said the vehicle had become a ball of fire, said well-placed sources had told it they thought Reyes may have been driving at around 120mph, some 50mph over the speed limit, although the exact speed was yet to be determined as part of an official investigation.
The theory that Reyes was distracted while at the wheel is also being considered.
The accident happened at 11.45am on Saturday morning as Reyes and his two passengers were returning from a training session at Extremadura, the club he was playing for, to his home in his native Utrera near Seville.
Utrera has declared two days of official mourning.
The accident happened at 11.45am on Saturday morning as Reyes and his two passengers were returning from a training session at Extremadura
The former Seville player’s coffin was due to be taken to his old football club on Sunday
The town hall said in a statement on Saturday: ‘This morning Utrera-born Jose Antonio Reyes has died in a traffic accident on the A-376.
‘Another relative of Jose Antonio’s has also died.
‘Jose Antonio has been a much-loved person in our town since the start of his footballing career with Seville Football Club, always carrying the flag for Utrera.’
Utrera’s mayor Jose Maria Villalobos said he felt ‘overwhelmed by this sad news and the fact a young person with a family has had his life taken away from him.’