Close friend of Emiliano Sala says missing striker 'never wanted' to board the plane

Monday marked two weeks since Emiliano Sala’s plane went missing over the English channel as he travelled travelled to Wales on January 21, 2019.

Sala and his pilot, David Ibbotson, are both presumed dead after wreckage was located on the seabed off Guernsey.

A body has also been found, though it’s unclear at this point who it belongs to. Sala and Ibbotson’s families are in contact with the local authorities.

“The ROV carried out a further search of the area overnight, but did not identify any additional pieces of wreckage,” a statement from Air Accidents Investigation Branch read.

“Tragically, in video footage from the ROV, one occupant is visible amidst the wreckage.

“The AAIB is now considering the next steps, in consultation with the families of the pilot and passenger, and the police.”

WhatsApp audio recently emerged of Sala’s last-known message to friends before taking off where he said the plane “looks like it’s about to fall apart”.

One of Sala’s closest friends, Maximiliano Duarte, has now bravely come out in an emotional interview and suggested the 28-year-old striker was made to travel against his wishes.

Duarte claims Sala was “obliged” to board the plane and that he said the “conditions were totally forced”.

“Emiliano never decided to get onto that plane,” said Duarte on Argentina TV, per the Mirror. “They are all obligations that one has, that as a professional player he accepted.

“Of course he did not want to. I was a footballer – the advisable thing is to get up early, eat breakfast accordingly and travel afterwards to get there well and rested.

“The conditions were totally forced, he said it. There are always messages between friends. He said: ‘I cannot rest, I haven’t stopped all day.’

“In the audio message it’s clear, and in some previous messages he sent me he told me he wanted to stay and sleep: ‘I don’t want to travel, I’d prefer to stay here tonight.’

“He didn’t want to travel, there is someone responsible, I don’t want to speak more than what is normal until the information is clearer.

“There is an agreement among our friends not to say more for now.”

Sala seemed to have reservations about leaving France for Wales, which only adds to the mystery surrounding the tragedy.

Further updates are expected over the coming days.

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