Seville. One and a quarter in the afternoon. Sierpes street in its hectic worldliness every Saturday. The tourists recorded the military planes that broke the sky with their flight and their storm. The parade of the Armed Forces drew flags in the firmament of the Andalusian capital. Everybody looked enraptured at the blue as if in an omen. One morning of so many that soon ceased to be restless and light peace to become broken and loss. Suddenly, a strange silence and a fleeting ash on the anonymous faces. A man smoked at the door of the H & M. When his wife left the store he held the phone to his face. She put a hand to her forehead. Something serious had happened. This massive and transparent misery was felt. Something had broken somewhere.
The gesture, people showing other people life through a screen, was repeated without stopping until I arrived at the Book Fair, in Plaza Nueva. Martin came out of one of the booths and said: “About Reyes , uncle.” And before my eyes his cell phone and a tweet from Sevilla announcing that death always arrives unexpected and blind. José Antonio Reyes was already in the afterlife, that of memory and pain. And we here, with a word knotted in the throat that will never slide through our tongue, in the broken slide, a concussed and cruel condolences. The death of a soccer player.
The accident had occurred at 11:40 in the km. 17 of the A-376, on its way through Alcalá de Guadaira. His Mercedes Brabus went off the road and, without control, traveled more than 200 meters, to stop and burn on a path attached to the highway . Reyes was not called for the match of Extremadura, his current team, against Cádiz, in a second day that is now postponed to Tuesday, and returned home after training in Almendralejo at first hour. He was accompanied by two of his cousins: Jonathan, who also died, and Juan Manuel, who remains hospitalized in very serious condition . The car was going too fast.
José Antonio Reyes was what he wanted to be in football. First he caged his talent and then released him like the one who gets bored of seeing a bird overshadowed by his captivity. It could be everything, but he preferred to be Reyes, a player who won without effort, who shone without looking for the spotlight, who scored goals without showing off . As a child he was already a star and he never stopped being one. An introverted star, light and with no intention of transcending. Attached to football, to the enjoyment of now. An endless present.
He fought big and small. He won the Premier with Arsenal and saved Cordoba from a descent. In both wars he put his foot, raised the fan and was happy. He was not a tormented genius. They did not weigh the clubs, nor the expectations. He was never a mercenary. At most, a man in constant search. Kissing each shield without imposture . Knowing that his boots were at the service of the high and the minute, of the near and the exotic, a little for many instead of much for only a few. And a seed in the heart of a thousand companions, absorbed in their simplicity and their undiminished closeness. Hence, this Saturday, after confirming his death, the pain as a breeze stirred all the sown. Spikes twisted to know the news, overcome by the wind and this goodbye so premature.
José Antonio Reyes left Seville to save him financially and returned to make it bigger . At five in the afternoon, already in the vicinity of Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán, an amateur came out of nowhere with a red candle. He lit it in front of the canvas and went to the albero. On that canvas, in black and white, Reyes is drawn with the shield of Seville on his chest. Looking Nervión from there, forever, indelible in the memory of what was always his stadium.