Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 21 May 2019

Kylian Mbappe donation helps Emiliano Sala's family to resume search as €300,000 target is reached

A GoFundMe page was set up with other players including Adrien Rabiot and Dimitri Payet contributing

Some of Europe's top footballers including Kylian Mbappe have donated thousands of euros to fund a private search for missing Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala.

An online fund-raising campaign was started at the GoFundMe website with the aim of raising €300,000 (Dh1.26m) to resume the search in the English Channel where the plane Sala was travelling on with pilot Dave Ibbotson disappeared last week.

The fund went past the target today after a donation of €30,010 from Paris Saint Germain star Mbappe.

Financial help had earlier come from the likes of Mbappe's PSG teammate Adrien Rabiot, who donated €25,000, Marseille's Dimitri Payet who donated €10,000, while the FifPro World Players Union put in €5,000.

Adrien Rabiot has donated €25,000. AP Photo
FILE - In this Oct. 3, 2018, file photo, PSG midfielder Adrien Rabiot is challenged by Red Star's Nenad Krstici, left, during a group C Champions League soccer match between Paris Saint Germain and Red Star Belgrade at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. Coach Thomas Tuchel needs Rabiot back in the side because an injury to Marco Verratti left Paris Saint-Germain seriously short of options in midfield. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)

Other players to contribute include Lucas Ocampos of Marseille (€5,000), Frenchman Nordi Mukiele who is at RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga (€4,000), Papu (Alejandro) Gomez of Atalanta (€2,002), Geoffrey Kondogbia of Valencia (€2,000), Ilkay Gundogan of Manchester City (€2,000), Laurent Koscielny of Arsenal (€2,000), Corentin Tolisso of Bayern Munich (€1,000), and Kalidou Koulibaly of Napoli (€1,000).

More than 3,500 people had donated.

A statement from GoFundMe said the fund "was created in the face of the urgency of the situation and the decision of the authorities not to pursue the search".

It added that the amount the fund was aiming to raise had been increased and that it "hoped to cover the maximum expenses related to our quest" as the costs related to the search were subject to variables such as duration and weather conditions.

"The family and we would like to thank you again for your exceptional generosity: players, clubs, staff and anonymous. #NoDejenDeBuscar EmilianoSala."

Two boats had resumed the search on Saturday as a result of the fund-raising appeal, according to AFP.

The formal search for the plane went on for three days before being called off on Thursday.

Nantes coach Vahid Halilhodzic labelled the closure of the search "a disgrace" and said the authorities had an obligation to find the footballer and pilot.

Sala, 28, had just completed a club record move to the Premier League club from French side Nantes.

He had returned to his old club to say goodbye to teammates and staff, and was then due to arrive in Cardiff to take part in his first training session.

Graphic: Ramon Penas / The National
Graphic: Ramon Penas / The National

Fellow Argentines Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero urged aurthorities to continue looking for the plane which was last in contact close to the island of Alderney.

Aguero wrote on Twitter: "We don't want to give up, we want to hold on to hope. That's why I also wish #NoDejenDeBuscar - don't call off the search. From the start, my thoughts have been with Emiliano, his family and friends #PrayForSala."

Updated: January 27, 2019 07:40 PM

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