Jose Antonio Reyes, one of our Invincibles, has tragically lost his life at the young age of 35.
The Spaniard was involved in a road traffic accident that cost him his life – and the former Gunner’s passing has prompted many of our luminaries – and his teammates at Arsenal during his time at the club – to pay their respects to a supremely talented individual that was taken far too soon.
Reyes joined Arsenal in 2004 and quickly made an impact in what would go on to be Arsenal’s greatest ever achievement. In his first month as a Gunner against Chelsea, Reyes bagged a double to sink the Blues and immediately show what he was capable of.
Reyes was our record signing at the time, and came with a big reputation for being one of the most wanted young talents in La Liga. His signing was a statement of intent from Arsenal, and the Spanish kid didn’t look out of place amongst the likes of Henry, Pires, Vieira and Bergkamp.
His power-packed start to Premier League life did the trick in terms of endearing himself to the Gooner faithful, and Reyes would go on to make his mark in the latter stages of the season to help Arsenal get over the line to become the first post-war side to navigate an entire season unbeaten.
His next season saw Reyes scorch out of the blocks, scoring in six consecutive games as Arsenal picked up where they left off. Reyes would tail off in form during the season, but he was a prominent figure in both Arsenal’s Champions League and Premier League campaigns.
Reyes left Arsenal technically in 2007, but in the 2006-07 season, the winger joined Real Madrid on loan after reportedly being homesick. Reyes would again make his presence felt, scoring the goals that would enable Real Madrid to win La Liga.
His permanent future was then secured as he signed for cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid in 2007, playing there until 2011. He eventually rejoined his boyhood side Sevilla, playing there for four years.
Reyes helped Arsenal achieve footballing immortality in his short Arsenal stint, so therefore deserves a special place in our hearts. Reyes was a young boy who left his country to help Arsenal fire towards glory, and we all should remember him that way.
Not to mention be thankful he chose us.
Rest in Peace Jose-Antonio Reyes.