Emiliano Sala: Claudio Ranieri leads messages for missing Cardiff forward

Emiliano Sala and Claudio Ranieri
Claudio Ranieri (bottom right) managed Emiliano Sala (top left) at Nantes last season

Claudio Ranieri says Cardiff City's record signing Emiliano Sala is a "fighter" and a "wonderful character".

Last season, Fulham boss Ranieri worked at Nantes with the striker, who was on a light aircraft that went missing over the Channel Islands on Monday.

Guernsey Police said there was "no trace" of the flight on Tuesday before suspending the search for the night.

"The world of football will be united in wishing for some positive news," Ranieri said.

Cardiff signed Argentine forward Sala, 28, for a reported £15m on Saturday from French Ligue 1 club Nantes, where he was leading scorer last season under Ranieri's management.

"He's a fantastic footballer who always gave his best when we worked together in France," the former Leicester manager said.

"Like everyone else, I was devastated to hear the news this morning that Emiliano was on board the aircraft.

"Emiliano is a wonderful character. Knowing him as a person, he's a fighter.

"In the meantime, I - along with the Nantes and Fulham families - pray for Emiliano and his family."

Sala was one of two people on board the Cardiff-bound Piper Malibu aircraft when it lost contact with air traffic control near Alderney and disappeared off radar.

A number of Sala's Nantes team-mates posted messages on social media, including defender Diego Carlos, who wrote on Instagram: "Let's all pray to God please. I know he is there waiting for us."

Midfielder Rene Krhin posted on Instagram, "We hope and pray brother, we know you're a warrior," and Theo Chendri shared a video from a vigil in the French city, adding the caption: "We want you Emi."

World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe, Monaco manager Thierry Henry and Match of the Day pundit Gary Lineker were among those to post messages reacting to Sala's disappearance.

The forward's Argentine compatriots Javier Mascherano, Pablo Zabaleta and Valentin Vada also posted online, with the latter calling for his "bro" to "please appear".

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