SHOWS: NANTES, FRANCE (FEBRUARY 8, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1.
(SOUNDBITE) (French) FC NANTES COACH, VAHID HALILDODZIC, SAYING: "Of course, (I remember) many, many things, this relationship, this No.
9 kid (referring to former player Emiliano Sala's jersey number) that I raised, and all the conversations that I had with this man while working with him for three and a half months.
When we last met, he came to speak to me, thanked me, saying he regretted leaving (for Cardiff) and that he wanted to continue this way.
There's a lot of things stirring up in my head.
Lots of memorable things." 2.
WHITE FLASH 3.
(SOUNDBITE) (French) FC NANTES COACH, VAHID HALILDODZIC, SAYING: "It was a shock to hear about this very bad news.
It was a shock.
At the beginning, we were all convinced that maybe we would find him alive somewhere.
But after a day, two days without news, we knew that unfortunately, the hope has died.
But we had never given up hope." 4.
WHITE FLASH 5.
(SOUNDBITE) (French) FC NANTES COACH, VAHID HALILDODZIC, SAYING: "We knew pertinently that chances were slim, that it was almost an illusion, idealistic (to believe Sala would be found alive).
We've held our hopes up.
Unfortunately, I learned two days ago that the truth has surfaced, and that it is terrible and unfair." STORY: FC Nantes coach Vahid Halildodzic could not hold back his tears as he recalled his memories with former player Emiliano Sala at a news conference on Friday (February 8).
A body retrieved from the wreckage of a crashed plane in the English Channel was formally identified on Thursday (February 7) as Cardiff City's Argentina-born soccer player Emiliano Sala.
"At the beginning, we were all convinced that maybe we would find him alive somewhere," Halildodzic said.
"But after a day, two days without news, we knew that unfortunately, the hope has died." Sala, 28, had been flying from his previous club Nantes in western France to Wales on Jan.
21 to make his debut for the Premier League team when the single-engined Piper Malibu aircraft disappeared over the sea.
Wreckage was found on Sunday following a privately-funded underwater search and a body recovered on Wednesday (February 6) and taken to southern England.
Sala had agreed to join relegation-threatened Cardiff for a club-record fee of 15 million pounds ($19.43 million) from French Ligue 1 club Nantes.
Police said an investigation into the circumstances of the crash was continuing.