Reina, Fabregas offer condolences after tragic death of Jose Antonio Reyes

Pepe Reina and Rafael Benitez are among those who have expressed their sadness at the death of former Sevilla, Spain and Arsenal star Jose Antonio Reyes.

Tributes have been offered from across the world of football for the former Spain international Jose Antonio Reyes.   -  Getty Images

Pepe Reina has offered condolences to the family of his former Spain team-mate Jose Antonio Reyes, who died on Saturday.

Former Spain, Sevilla and Arsenal star Reyes was killed in a traffic accident at the age of just 35.

Tributes have been offered from across the world of football since Sevilla confirmed the news of his passing just hours before the Champions League final in the Spanish capital, where Reyes spent five years as a player for Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid.

AC Milan goalkeeper Reina, a former team-mate of Reyes with Spain, described it as a "difficult day".

He told Omnisport in Madrid: "It is a sad day. It is something that you cannot expect - 35 years old. Suddenly, you find yourself in this situation.

"My condolences for the family, for his friends...it's just a difficult day.

"The experience of 2006 in Germany [at the World Cup] seems like it was yesterday, to be there with his wife and new-born son. Life is like this, and you have to enjoy it while you can."

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez also expressed his sadness at the news.

"My condolences to the family. You cannot say too much. It is sad news for sure," he told reporters in Madrid.

There will be a moment's silence before kick-off of the Champions League final as a mark of respect for Reyes.

—'A humble guy, great footballer, great person'—

Cesc Fabregas described Reyes as "one of the great talents in football" in an emotional tribute to his former Arsenal and Spain team-mate, who was killed in a traffic accident on Saturday.

The pair won an FA Cup during their time together at Arsenal and Fabregas opened up about the important role Reyes played in his career as a young player.

Reyes arrived in North London in January 2004, by which time the 16-year-old Fabregas had been at Arsenal for four months, and he scored two goals in 13 Premier League appearances as Arsene Wenger's unbeaten side won the title.

Fabregas wrote a touching tribute on Instagram, which read: "My first great friend in the world of professional football, my room-mate, who always wanted to sleep with the air conditioning even at minus 10 degrees.

"A humble guy who always had a smile on his face, great footballer and great person. I could not wake up today in a worse way.

"I will never forget when you and your family welcomed me at your home in my first Christmas in England when I was alone and 16-years-old.

"Our connection in the field was also special, since it was always easy to find you between the lines so you could make the difference.

"I always say that you have been one of the greatest talents in football and I know that I am not wrong. Two days ago I was talking about you in an interview, it might be a sign, who knows, to remember you, my great friend."

Players and coaches throughout the football world joined Fabregas in mourning, including former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

In a tweet posted by Arsenal's official account, Wenger said: "I am devastated to hear the terrible news about Jose.

"To his family and friends, all support from everyone in the Arsenal family. He will remain forever in our hearts."

Sevilla sporting director Monchi, who helped discover Reyes, described the winger's importance at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, telling SFC Radio: "He was the most innate talent that came out of the academy.

"Not needing to improve on anything, he was already good, and what's more, with his sale he allowed the club to grow, and then he came back to win another three titles.

"He is Sevilla history.

"I've been numb since the chairman called me, trying to wake up from what I want to be a nightmare but tragically seems to be real."