Uruguay defender Zeballos eager to wear Chapecoense shirt

Rio de Janeiro, Jan 2 (IANS) Uruguayan defender Emilio Zeballos has described the opportunity to represent Chapecoense as a “privilege” as he prepares to begin a one-year loan spell with the striken Brazilian football club.

The 24-year-old is one of the first players to arrive at Chapecoense since a plane crash killed most of the club’s players, staff and directors in November, last year, reports Xinhua news agency.

“It’s an honour to know that Chapecoense had their eyes on me and it will be a privilege to wear their beautiful shirt,” Zeballos told reporters on Sunday.

“I’m relaxed but also anxious at the same time. I know that I’m going to experience some emotional and unforgettable moments. The city still feels great pain but if we all work together we are going to recover.”

Zeballos is currently contracted to Uruguay’s Defensor, where he has featured at both right back and centre-back.

Others to have already joined Chapecoense include forward Rossi Pereira, goalkeeper Davi, central defender Douglas Grolli and midfielder Dodo.

Seventy-one people died, including 19 Chapecoense players, when the LaMia plane in which they were travelling crashed near Medellin, Colombia, on November 28.

The accident occurred less than two days before Chapecoense were due to play Colombia’s Atletico Nacional in the first leg of the two-match Copa Sudamericana final.

Chapecoense were last month awarded the title at the request of Atletico Nacional.