Nantes have retired their No 9 shirt in honour of former striker Emiliano Sala, whose body was found in the plane wreckage in the English Channel this week.
And in tearful scenes outside the club’s Stade de la Beaujoire on Friday morning a ‘keep hope’ banner was removed in front of the floral tribute.
On Wednesday, it emerged an unidentified body – now known to be Sala – was brought off ship, Geo Ocean III, on a stretcher and transferred to a private ambulance before being taken to Dorset Police and the local coroner.
The plane was flying from Nantes, France, the home of Sala’s former team, to Cardiff on January 21, when it crashed into the sea with the new £15million signing and pilot David Ibbotson inside.
The French club released a heartfelt statement on Friday, confirming the decision to retire the shirt.
Meanwhile, his former teammate and Nigeria international Chidozie Awaziem has joined a host of others to pay tribute.
Awaziem whom, on loan from Porto, played alongside Sala at Nantes last season, also left some words for the late Cardiff City forward.
“You will forever be in our hearts. RIP Emi,” the Super Eagles and Rizespor defender posted on Instagram.