Chapecoense air crash survivor Neto retires

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SAO PAULO (AP) One of the six survivors of the air crash that killed almost all of the Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense in 2016 announced his playing retirement on Friday.

Neto, a 34-year-old defender, spent two years rehabilitating after the crash that killed 71 people in Colombia. He returned to training in March. But in an interview he said his pain was too intense to play again.

“I am in agreement with doctors and the club. I wanted a farewell match, but I chose not to,” Neto told TV Globo.

“My body couldn’t take it anymore. The pains were bigger than the pleasure.”

He said his knees and back hurt the most.

Chapecoense’s plane went down en route to the team’s first South American tournament final against Colombia’s Atletico Nacional. It ran out of fuel near Medellin.

The southern Brazilian team was later awarded the Copa Sudamericana title, despite not playing the final.

Neto said Chapecoense was considering keeping him as a board member. The club was mired in debt and relegated to the second division this year.

Two other players survived the crash: Alan Ruschel, a 30-year-old defender, was still active and on loan to first division club Goias, and Jackson Follmann, a goalkeeper who lost part of his right leg, has hopes of becoming a Brazilian Paralympic athlete.

Journalist who survived Chapecoense plane crash dies

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A Brazilian journalist who survived the Chapecoense plane crash tragedy died Tuesday after playing soccer with friends.

Raphael Henzel, 45, broke seven ribs in the deadly plane crash that claimed the lives of 77 people including 19 players from Brazilian club Chapecoense in November 2016.

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He suffered a heart attack while playing soccer with his friends, and died after being taken to a hospital.

Henzel covered the Brazilian club and wrote a book on the plane crash, “Viva Como Se Estivesse de Partida” — loosely translated “Live Like I Was Departing.”

Chapecoense called Henzel “a symbol of the club’s reconstruction” and said that the club’s history “will always remember his example of overcoming adversity in everything he did.”

Chapecoense honors Colombia with beautiful new jersey

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Here’s something wonderful we missed over the thrilling club soccer weekend in Europe and Major League Soccer.

The horrible plane crash that claimed the lives of 71 people associated with Brazilian club Chapecoense was one of the most painful stories in soccer history.

Chape was en route to contend the Copa Sudamericana Final against Colombian side Atletico Nacional.

The Colombian side requested that the trophy be awarded to Chape, and the clubs have had an inspiring friendship.

Now Chape, normally sporting green shirts, has released a new jersey honoring the people of Colombia.

It’s pretty great.

Nacional probed after fans mock Chapecoense plane crash

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ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP) South America’s soccer governing body has opened a disciplinary procedure against Uruguayan club Nacional after a group of its fans mocked the plane crash that killed members of Brazilian soccer club Chapecoense two years ago.

CONMEBOL said Friday the probe was launched due to “offensive behaviors that are an attack on human dignity.”

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Nacional apologized to the Brazilian team in a statement and said it would launch its own investigation to ensure those “responsible get the most severe sanctions.”

A video broadcast by Brazil’s Globoesporte website shows two Nacional fans laughing and making gestures with their arms imitating a plane crash.

They were filmed during Nacional’s 1-0 victory at Chapecoense on Wednesday in a qualifying round in the Copa Libertadores.

The Chapecoense flight crashed in November 2016 in Colombia, killing 71 people, including nearly all members of the Chapecoense squad.

The modest Brazilian club was traveling to play in its first ever international final.

Chapecoense nets dramatic late goal to qualify for Copa Libertadores

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The roster was tragically much different, but the spirit very much the same as Chapecoense clinched a return to the Copa Libertadores.

It’s been just over a year since a plane carrying the Chapecoense team to the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final crashed, killing all but six of 77 passengers.

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Chapecoense was awarded the Copa Sudamericana title in a gesture of respect from Atletico Nacional, and turned down a “can’t be relegated” offer from the clubs in its league.

Now, one year later, with a scrappy band of loanees and free agents, manager Gilson Kleina has led Chape back to the Copa Libertadores.

The stoppage time winner cued celebrations (and actually saved another club from relegation!).