Spanish football mourns Dani Jarque

Spanish football was in mourning Sunday following the sudden death of Espanyol captain Dani Jarque from a heart attack.

Real Madrid captain Raul led the tributes to the 26-year-old who died Saturday in a hotel room in the Italian town of Coviciana where his team were on a pre-season training camp.

dani jarqueRaul said: “As captain and in representation of Real Madrid I want to show all our sympathy and to be by the side of the player’s family.

“We want to give encouragement to all the Espanyol family at such a hard time, which has left us all filled with dismay and pain.

“Such a young lad, a great professional and sportsman, who suffered this has left us all very hurt.

“From here our most sincere sympathies.”

Another Real Madrid player, Manchester United recruit Cristiano Ronaldo, described the day as “very sad for everyone”.

Jarque was discovered in his room after failing to appear for dinner with his teammates.

The club said that team doctors as well as Italian paramedics tried to revive the midfielder but without success.

Carles Puyol, captain of Barcelona, Espanyol’s city neighbours, echoed Raul and Ronaldo’s sentiments, telling his club’s website: “It’s a sad day for us all and for football.

“Our thoughts are with his family and his friends.”

A minute’s silence was observed at the start of the second half of a pre-season friendly at the Mestella Stadium where Valencia were taking on English side Arsenal.

Players from both sides also wore black armbands.

Valencia issued a statement presenting their “condolences”.

Atletico Madrid declared that “the world of football is once again in mourning,” a reference to the fact that this tragedy occurred just two years after the death, also from heart failure, of Sevilla defender Antonio Puerta.

Puerta died aged 22 after collapsing during the opening game of the Spanish La Liga season.

Both the Spanish football frederation and the league expressed their support for Jarque’s family and club.

Sunday’s edition of Marca, the main Spanish sports daily, printed the dead player’s name in black on its front page while in Barcelona supporters gathered outside the number 21 gate, Jarque’s shirt number, at Espanyol’s stadium.

Late Saturday Espanyol had confirmed that their captain had died from heart failure and said the club doctor’s attempts to revive him had failed.

“It was a heart attack,” said club official German de la Cruz.

“He was talking to his girlfriend when he suddenly began to feel unwell. He told her and then stopped talking. His partner got in touch with the hotel and explained what had happened but it was too late to do anything.

Jarque had played for Espanyol since the 2002-2003 season.

In the last campaign, he featured in 36 league matches and scored two goals. He was also a member of the team which won the Spanish Cup in 2006 and who were UEFA Cup runners-up in 2007.

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Real Madrid’s World Record Bid For Cristiano Ronaldo

Manchester United have confirmed they have accepted a world-record bid from Real Madrid for Cristiano Ronaldo after he once again asked to leave the club.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Madrid have been courting the Portuguese international for two seasons after he stated it is his dream to play for the Spanish giants, but United had rebuffed a series of overtures made by former Madrid president, Ramon Calderon.

Now, Los Galacticos mastermind Florentino Perez has retaken office at the Santiago Bernabeu and vowed several star signings, having already begun with Kaka coming from Milan on Monday for around €65 million, the second highest transfer fee of all time behind the €73m paid by Madrid for Zinedine Zidane in 2001.

With a world record fee in the region of €94m agreed, it is widely expected that negotiations with the player – who asked to leave, despite promising to stay all season – will not be protracted.

The deal is expected to be concluded by the end of the month, if not sooner.

An official Manchester United statement read, “Manchester United have received a world-record, unconditional offer of £80 million for Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid.”

“At Cristiano’s request – who has again expressed his desire to leave – and after discussion with the player’s representatives, United have agreed to give Real Madrid permission to talk to the player.

“Matters are expected to be concluded by 30 June. The club will not comment until further notice.”