The much-loved Argentine may have been laid to rest, but the circumstances surrounding his untimely passing continue to be questioned.
Emiliano Sala (Left)
A WhatsApp message recorded by Emiliano Sala has been released to the public, in which the tragically deceased striker reveals that he was not interested in a move to Cardiff and claimed Nantes owner and president Waldemar Kita was only interested in money.
Much has been written about the untimely death of the Argentine, whose passing dominated headlines for months after the plane transporting him from France to Wales went down over the English channel, killing the player and pilot David Ibbotson.
And while investigations into how the aircraft fell are ongoing, French publication l'Equipe came into possession of a recorded message sent to a relative of Sala before the flight. In it, Sala reveals his mental tribulations over the proposed move and his distaste for the Nantes owner.
“Last night, I sent a message to Meissa [N'Diaye, Sala's agent]. He called me a few hours later,” it begins. “We had discussions and he told me that last night Franck Kita [son of Nantes owner Waldemar] sent him a message to talk, so he called him.
“They spoke and... they want to sell me. There is an offer from Cardiff. On their [Nantes'] side, they have negotiated to get a lot of money. So they absolutely want me to go there. It is true that it is a good contract but from a football perspective it is not interesting for me.
“So, there you go. They are trying in every way to get me to go there. Me, I am not scared to go there, because I have battled throughout my career, so to go there and fight, that does not make me scared. On the contrary.
“But, I'm also thinking to myself that Meissa must find me something better between now and the end of the window. Meissa has said no to Cardiff because he does not want me to go there.
“He thinks that, in terms of football, in terms of where we are today, we are in a position of strength in every way. In terms of on the pitch, the contract, all of that. But I don’t care about that and I do not want that. I don’t give a f*ck about being in a position of strength.
“It is true that I would like to find something interesting in contractual terms and also from a football perspective, but sometimes you can’t have both. On the other hand, I do not want to speak with [Waldemar] Kita, because I do not want to get angry.
“He disgusts me when I am face to face with him. And today, he wants to sell me to Cardiff because he has negotiated a high price – he will get the money he wants, eh? He wants me to go there, but he hasn’t even asked what I want. All he cares about is money.
“So that's how things are – a complete mess. I don’t know what to do because as I said to you it is me who has to get up every day and see my face.
“Nobody is looking at me, myself, me internally, what I am having to go through. It is very hard, because I feel like there are not many people who would put themselves in my place.”
In the interests of journalistic nonpartisanship, l'Equipe also interviewed Waldermar Kita, who was given a chance to respond to Sala's barbs and the claims that his only interest in the scenario was to make money.
“I am surprised and disappointed,” he began. “Because I behave as well as I can with people, but I have to accept that others might feel differently.
“Unfortunately this stupid accident happened. He was a boy and very well educated. If he hadn't passed away I think he would have been very happy today.
“I have a feeling that those aren't his words,” Kita added, insinuating that the striker's perspective was skewed by others who were involved.
On the accusations that he only wanted to make money from Sala's sale, the Nantes chief replied: “If I really wanted to make money that's not how I would do it, because at the end of the day there would not be much left with all the commissions to be distributed [to agents, etc.].
“Today, I don't even want this money and I may never touch it. I don't want to earn money on someone who died tragically. That doesn't interest me. I don't take care of that stuff at all, the lawyers do. Cardiff never contacted me – they never wanted to.
“As long as everything was signed, I'm no longer responsible for the player. That must be clear. When he came for his goodbye he was very happy. Cardiff, for me, who took care of him, are responsible.”
Regarding Sala's vocalised dislike for the 66-year-old, Kita pointed to a pay-rise awarded to the Argentine, for which he claims he didn't receive a gesture of gratitude.
"I paid €30,000 more every month and did not even get a thank you in return. It was difficult to talk to him – did I miss something? I would have to think about that. I paid an extra €30,000 for six months to someone and didn't get a thank you.
“I don't really understand it. I did it to encourage him and then he said he wanted to leave.”
Kita was also asked to comment on the player's family, who have also questioned the president's behaviour in the wake of the tragedy.
“I totally understand the mother's anger at the meeting we had, I sincerely wanted to offer her my condolences – I said I could help them. Anyway, I excuse the mother, I understand. Still, I'm accused and not the people who were involved? And not Cardiff? What's that?”