Zico mourns Chapecoense tragedy

"I lost so many close friends. I have worked with many of its players and technical staff in the past. In fact, members of Chapecoense technical staff received me at Doha last year," said a devastated Zico.

Zico informed that three members of the FC Goa squad - Rafael, Richarlyson and Reinaldo da Cruz Oliveira - have all played for Chapecoense in the past,.   -  K. Murali Kumar

A devastated Zico stated that he was close to many of the passengers who were on board the ill-fated chartered plane which crashed in Colombia on Tuesday. The flight, which carried members of Brazilian first division football team Chapecoense, came down near Medellin.

READ: >Football mourns Brazilian players killed in air crash

“I lost so many close friends. I have worked with many of its players and technical staff in the past. In fact, members of Chapecoense technical staff received me at Doha last year. I knew some of the journalists who were on board too. I have never lost so many friends at one time. I am devastated,” FC Goa coach Zico said here on Wednesday.

The Brazil great was particularly upset about the death of Chapecoense physical trainer Anderson Paixao. Anderson is the son of Paulo Paixao, who worked with Zico during his stint as coach of Russian club side CSKA Moscow. Paulo was also the Brazil national team physical trainer at the 2002 World Cup.

“Paulo was part of my support staff when I was in Russia. He had already lost one son some years ago due to an illness, and now he has lost a second son in the air crash. He has lost two children in a short space of time. Anderson was also working with the national team, and he had a long and successful career ahead of him. His death hurts me a lot, as Paulo is a very good friend of mine,” Zico said.

He added that three members of the FC Goa squad - Rafael, Richarlyson and Reinaldo da Cruz Oliveira - have all played for Chapecoense in the past. “(FC Goa forward) Julio Cesar has also played with these footballers. One of those who died was his close friend. All of us were very sad yesterday, which is why we decided not to train,” he said.

“When something like this happens, we understand that losses and victories don’t matter at all. We are talking about lives being lost here. Brazil and world football mourns this huge loss," Zico said. "This tragedy could have happened to us. We fly all over the world to play football.”

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