Arsenal defender Gabriel has sent his condolences to Chapecoense following the air crash in Colombia that claimed the lives of 71 people.
The Brazilian side were on their way to play in the final of the Copa Sudamericana when the plane came down decimating their squad.
The centre-back took time to pay tribute to the club and in particular coach Caio Junior who he worked with as a youngster at Vitoria.
“It’s a bit hard to talk about what happened,” he said via Standard Sport. “I wish the families can have strength and I hope God can comfort their hearts.
“I had many friends over there, I played for Vitoria for five years and I worked with the coach [Caio Junior] and the backroom staff, and two other players as well. We were very close friends.
“This is really hard to take. It’s something we never imagine will happen with us or with a close friend. The minimum I can do is send my condolences to all their families and wish that they can carry on.
- Arsenal must outmanoeuvre Galatasaray to win race for £2m ‘bargain’ transfer
- Arsenal reportedly set to sign free agent after impressive trial
- Arsenal have ‘concrete interest’ in signing Bayern Munich II star
“I know it’s not easy to lose a member of the family. I know it from experience – I’ve lost a brother myself and I know how painful it is.
I ask for strength for this team that enchanted Brazilian football, a group that five years ago was in the fourth division and surprised everyone. We have only good memories to keep in our hearts from this team and the friends I made through football.
“We have a message group from Brazil and I texted them to say ‘don’t leave for tomorrow what you can do today’.
“I say that because on my last birthday I felt this urge to talk to Caio Junior and for some reason I left it for another day, and then this tragedy happens.
“So if you think you want to do something just get out there and do it because we don’t know what tomorrow brings.”