second anniversary of that chill

It was at noon on June 1, 2019. Like a wildfire of black powder, the news spread via telephone or digitally throughout the Sevillian geography, first, Andalusian, Spanish and later worldwide. José Antonio Reyes had just lost his life in a tragic way, in a horrible traffic accident in which one of the two cousins ​​who were returning with him from Almendralejo in his Mercedes, Jonathan Reyes Reyes, also died. Juan Manuel Calderón survived and can tell about it, although the scar on his soul will be difficult to close completely. The memory of the chill of the news remains indelible in all who knew the genius of Utrera, who died at the age of 35.

Sevillismo remembers such a day as today one of its most symbolic, charismatic, great and beloved footballers. The most talented youth squad who ever left the Utrera road, the same road where he lost his life due to the excess speed with which he always lived everything: the speed of his Andalusian genius, the rapidity of his light body, the speed of his mind, for the joke and to see the space between the forest of legs.

Reyes left Seville, paradoxes of life, also on June 1, 2016. Today is five years of that farewell between tears, more mature and heartfelt, less childish and heartbroken than those of January 2004, when he had to pack his bags to go to London and fix the coffers of Nervión, heading to the Arsenal. “I am leaving again in tears and I want you to remember me as someone who fought to the end for our shield. Throughout my life this has been my team and I will take you wherever I go in my heart,” he wrote five years ago, three before that it was the others who shed thousands of tears for him on that same date marked in his film biography.

But before losing his life, after returning from Extremadura training very early, since he could not play that day, Reyes was entertained in winning a multitude of titles, to the same extent as he won sympathy wherever he distributed his mischievous smile and his lively and mischievous eyes. One Premier, one FA Cup and one Community Shild with Arsenal, one League with Madrid, one League Cup with Benfica, two Europa Leagues and one Super Cup with Atlético and the three Europa Leagues with Sevilla. That is the record in silver. In gold, in platinum, the legend of his great football will always survive his tragic fate and that enviable trophy album.

The best proof of this was how the world of football turned upside down and how their funerals were lived. The best of Spanish football passed through Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán. Rakitic before returning to being a Sevilla player; Vitolo after his controversial march to a Athletic that he sent his heartfelt condolences; Emery then in the Arsenal, a club that also sent all its condolences, such as the Benfica, present at his funeral, or the Real Madrid by Florentino and Sergio Ramos … Betis, of course, represented at the highest level, Ángel Haro, Lorenzo Serra, Gordillo, Joaquín and Juanito. And the Córdoba, another former team in which he left a very deep mark despite his scant stay. And also him Estremadura with its entire staff and Diego Capel, who shared his dressing room for the last time, in a particularly painful way: they were his last friends on the pitch.

He was a universal and universal footballer, it was the pain that the football community felt and that, in some way, tried to comfort and wipe the tears of the Sevilla players who saw Reyes grow up and who were the main protagonists of that deep mourning: Joaquín Caparrós Pablo Blanco, Manolo Jiménez, José María del Nido, Antoñito, Monchi, Jesús Navas … the Utreran José Castro.

But there was no possible comfort. Only the memory of his smile, of his restless gaze, of his exquisite left-handed leg (242 games for Sevilla, 37 goals, 37 assists), alleviated the pain then as it will continue to alleviate it in memory, that of the most talented footballer who came out of the fertile quarry of Seville, that of that genius so quick in his legs and in his mind.


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