DORSET: A body recovered from the wreckage of a crashed plane in the English Channel has been confirmed as that of Cardiff City player Emiliano Sala.

The 28-year-old had been flying to Cardiff from Nantes in France to join his new club when the plane piloted by David Ibbotson went missing in bad weather on January 21.

His body was recovered late on Wednesday after the wreckage had been found on Sunday morning and Dorset Police confirmed the identification on Thursday night.

A statement said: “The body brought to Portland Port today, Thursday 7 February 2019, has been formally identified by HM Coroner for Dorset as that of professional footballer Emiliano Sala.

“The families of Mr Sala and the pilot David Ibbotson have been updated with this news and will continue to be supported by specially-trained family liaison officers.”

The body was spotted in the wreckage of the plane on Monday and the authorities were able to recover it two days later, despite “challenging conditions”.

The Air Accidents Investigations Branch (AAIB) said the operation had been carried out in “as dignified a way as possible” and the men’s families were kept updated throughout.

The search team took the body back to the nearest port of Portland in Dorset, where the body was formally identified.

The Piper Malibu N264DB was en route to South Wales after the Argentinian striker made a quick trip back to his former club two days after his £15m transfer to Cardiff had been announced.

Cardiff City issued a statement shortly after identification was confirmed saying: “We offer our most heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the family of Emiliano. He and David will forever remain in our thoughts.”

The body of Mr Ibbotson has yet to be found.

Nantes have inquired from Cardiff City about the due payment of the first of three instalments of the fee, 50pc of which is owed to Sala’s previous club Bordeaux.

The insurance situation remains unclear.