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Spanish soccer mourns Jarque
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Spanish football was in mourning Sunday following the sudden death of Espanyol captain Dani Jarque from a heart attack.

Real Madrid captain Raul led the tributes to the 26-year-old who died Saturday in a hotel room in the Italian town of Coviciana where his team were on a preseason training camp.

Raul said: "As captain and in representation of Real Madrid I want to show all our sympathy and to be by the side of the player's family.

"We want to give encouragement to all the Espanyol family at such a hard time, which has left us all filled with dismay and pain.

"Such a young lad, a great professional and sportsman, who suffered this has left us all very hurt.

"From here our most sincere sympathies."

Another Real Madrid player, Manchester United recruit Cristiano Ronaldo, described the day as "very sad for everyone".

Jarque was discovered in his room after failing to appear for dinner with his teammates.

The club said that team doctors as well as Italian paramedics tried to revive the midfielder but without success.

Carles Puyol, captain of Barcelona, Espanyol's city neighbours, echoed Raul and Ronaldo's sentiments, telling his club's website: "It's a sad day for us all and for football.

"Our thoughts are with his family and his friends."

A minute's silence was observed at the start of the second half of a pre-season friendly at the Mestella Stadium where Valencia were taking on English side Arsenal.

Players from both sides also wore black armbands.

Valencia issued a statement presenting their "condolences".

Atletico Madrid declared that "the world of football is once again in mourning," a reference to the fact that this tragedy occurred just two years after the death, also from heart failure, of Sevilla defender Antonio Puerta.

Puerta died aged 22 after collapsing during the opening game of the Spanish La Liga season.

Both the Spanish football federation and the league expressed their support for Jarque's family and club.

Sunday's edition of Marca, the main Spanish sports daily, printed the dead player's name in black on its front page while in Barcelona supporters gathered outside the No 21 gate, Jarque's shirt number, at Espanyol's stadium.

Late Saturday Espanyol had confirmed that their captain had died from heart failure and said the club doctor's attempts to revive him had failed.

(AFP via China Daily August 11, 2009)

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