December 02, 2016Print : Sports
RIO DE JANEIRO: Chapecoense goalkeeper Nivaldo has announced he is retiring from football 24 hours after the majority of his teammates died in the Colombia plane crash on Tuesday morning.
Nivaldo, 42, did not travel with the rest of the squad to play the first leg of their Copa Sudamericana final with Atletico Nacional.
The veteran goalkeeper chose to miss the match, which was due to go ahead on Wednesday, so that he could make his 300th appearance in front of his home fans against Atlético Mineiro.
Nine of the club’s players didn’t travel with the rest of the squad on the chartered flight, according to local media. They were Alejandro Martinuccio, Nenem, Demerson, Marcelo Boeck, Andrei, Hyoran, Nivaldo, Moises and Rafael Lima.
Nivaldo has now decided he will never play again after 19 of his Chapecoense teammates died in the crash as the plane journeyed from Bolivia to Colombia.
“I was supposed to go on the trip but ended up staying,” Nivaldo told Globoesporte.
“Everything has a reason in life. I didn’t travel to Palmeiras (on Sunday), because it would make my farewell game to play here against Atletico-MG, when I would complete 300 games for the club.
“As there was a change in the trip, they would not return to Chapeco and instead go straight from Sao Paulo to Medellín. So Caio [the coach] said he would not take me.”
Nivaldo struggled to hold back tears as he made the statement to gathered media outside the club’s Arena Conda stadium.