Chapecoense plane crash survivor Alan Ruschel returns to pitch against Barcelona

Eight months after surviving the plane crash that killed most of his Chapecoense teammates, Alan Ruschel played his first minutes of football.

Published: 08th August 2017 01:12 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th August 2017 01:17 PM   |  A+A-

Chapecoense's Alan Ruschel waves to the crowd prior of the Joan Gamper trophy friendly soccer match between FC Barcelona and Chapecoense. | AP

By Associated Press

BARCELONA: Eight months after surviving the plane crash that killed most of his Chapecoense teammates, Alan Ruschel played his first minutes of football when his Brazilian club met Barcelona in a friendly.

Ruschel and two teammates were the only Chapecoense players to not perish when the team's flight went down in Colombia last year, killing all but six of the 77 players, officials and journalists on board.

All three were on the pitch on Monday in an emotional night at Camp Nou that was more about overcoming the tragedy that had decimated their club than about facing Lionel Messi's Barcelona.

Barcelona eased to a 5-0 win, but the result mattered little to the players, coaches, or fans.

Ruschel wore the captain's armband for Chapecoense during the 36 minutes he played before being substituted. He received a standing ovation from the crowd, which he returned by applauding with his hands held high as he slowly walked to the dugout.

Before the match, Ruschel wrote on Instagram, "Today is the new beginning of my professional career."

He said he would play the match for all those who supported me, for those who I lost, for my friends, my family.

The crowd had already saluted the Chapecoense players as their names were called before the match. Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta welcomed the visitors, telling the stadium that today is a very special night.

Jackson Follmann and Helio Zampier Neto, the only other Chapecoense players to survive the crash, shared in a moving honorary kickoff.

Follmann, who had part of his right leg amputated from injuries in the crash, was wearing a prosthetic leg when he took the kickoff along with Neto. Neto, who played in the friendly, accompanied Follmann to the bench as they both received another wave of applause.

The game, for the Joan Gamper trophy, is Barcelona's traditional curtain-raiser for the new season.

It was also Barcelona's first match since the departure of Neymar for Paris Saint-Germain for a world-record fee of 222 million euros (USD 262 million) last week.

Gerard Deulofeu, a product of Barcelona's youth academy whom the club bought back this summer from Everton, took Neymar's vacant spot in the attack alongside Messi and Luis Suarez.

Deulofeu got off to a good start by opening the scoring in the sixth minute. After Sergio Busquets struck from long range, Deulofeu set up Messi for the third goal near the half-hour mark. Luis Suarez and Denis Suarez scored in the second half.

Barcelona starts the season on Sunday in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup against Real Madrid.

Stay up to date on all the latest Football news with The New Indian Express App. Download now


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp