Things to Know:

Emiliano Sala stated that he modelled his style on his idol, former Argentine international forward Gabriel Batistuta. BBC Sport compared Sala to Jamie Vardy, describing him as “a player who likes wide spaces and being part of a team that has a strong counter-attacking style.” A large and powerful striker, he was also recognized for his ability to hold the ball up and was described as possessing “reasonable” pace; he also drew praise in the media for his work-rate, tenacity, eye for goal, and finishing ability.


Nantes vs Auxerre

January 23rd 2018

Coupe de France

Match Worn & Unwashed Shirt

Sala Emiliano

Did you Know?

Emiliano Sala joined Ligue 1 club Nantes on a five-year contract on July 15th 2015 with Nantes paying a reported transfer fee of €1 million to Bordeaux. He made his debut for Nantes on the opening day of the 2015–16 season, during a 1–0 victory over Guingamp, and scored his first goal for the club on 5 December 2015 in a 1–1 draw with Ajaccio. In January 2016, Nantes rejected a bid of £3 million from Wolverhampton Wanderers for Sala. In his first season, despite scoring only six times, he finished the year as the club’s top goalscorer. During his second season, Sala scored twelve league goals for Nantes, the highest scoring player in a single season for the club since Olivier Monterrubio in 2000–01. He equaled his tally again in the 2017–18 season, finishing as Nantes’ top scorer for the third consecutive season since his arrival at the club. At the start of the 2018–19 season, Sala fell out of favour under new manager Miguel Cardoso who preferred Kalifa Coulibaly as the club’s first choice striker. Turkish side Galatasaray made a late bid to sign Sala on the last day of the summer transfer window but the move later collapsed. Sala twice made goalscoring appearances as a substitute and was restored to the starting line up under Cardoso before the manager was sacked in October 2018. Vahid Halilhodžić was appointed as the club’s new manager and in his first match in charge, on 20 October 2018, Sala scored a hat-trick in a 4–0 Ligue 1 home win over Toulouse. He thus became the first FC Nantes player to score three goals in a Ligue 1 match since Mamadou Diallo did so against FC Sochaux-Montbéliard in February 2006. At the end of October, he was voted Ligue 1 Player of the Month having scored four goals in three matches during the month. Sala’s good form saw him as the joint-highest goalscorer in Ligue 1 at the start of December, his tally of twelve goals tied with Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappé. On 5 December, Sala scored his last goal for the club in a 3–2 Ligue 1 home victory over Olympique de Marseille. On 16 January 2019, he played his final match for the club in a 1–0 Ligue 1 away defeat against Nîmes Olympique. On 19 January 2019, Sala joined Premier League side Cardiff City on a three and a half-year deal for a club record transfer fee, reported to be £15 million. The transfer beat the previous club record of £11 million paid for Gary Medel in 2013. As part of a sell-on clause, 50% of the transfer fee was due to his first professional club Bordeaux. Sala rejected a late bid from a club in the Chinese Super League to join Cardiff, despite being offered a higher transfer fee and salary, due to his desire to play in the Premier League. On 21 January the Piper Malibu aircraft, which was flying Sala from Nantes to Cardiff, disappeared off Alderney. Following Sala’s death, Nantes demanded the transfer fee from Cardiff.