Chapecoense footballer and Colombia plane crash survivor Alan Ruschel steps out on the pitch

This is the emotional moment a footballer who survived the Chapecoense plane crash stepped back out onto the pitch.

Brazilian left-back Alan Ruschel, 27, was one of the survivors of the tragedy which claimed 71 people after their Bolivian plane crashed in Colombia, near the city of Medellin, after running out of fuel.

They included most of Brazil’s Chapecoense football team who were on their way to what would have been the biggest game in their club’s history, the final of the Copa Sudamericana.

Ruschel, who says he only survived because he agreed to swap seats with a journalist, recently left hospital after being treated for serious injuries.

And he was given a warm welcome by the crowd after agreeing to attend a friendly match organised by his friend, the Argentine footballer Andres D’Alessandro, in the city of Porto Alegre, in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul.

Ruschel walked out onto the pitch wearing a yellow shirt with the number 28 and his name on the back. He hugged D’Alessandro as well as other players and even the match officials.

He kicked the first ball of the game before coming off and promised to keep on working on his recovery to meet his target of playing again within six months.

“God has given me a second chance to live. I am happy for this, now I need to be strong for the challenges that lie ahead of me.”

Ruschel was one of only three Chapecoense players to survive the plane crash. Doctors say both he and teammate Helio Neto should be able to play again. The third, Jackson Follman, had a leg amputated.

The proceeds of the friendly match organised by D’Alessandro will go to the families of the victims of the tragedy.

Top players including Brazilian stars Zago, Dida and Dunga, Uruguayan footballers Ruben Paz and Alvaro Recoba, and Argentine players Roberto Abbondanzieri, Juan Sebastian Veron, Roberto Ayala and Ariel Ortega, played in the match.


1 Comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.