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Search for missing footballer Emiliano Sala look set to resume after £260,000 gofundme target is reached following generous donations from football stars around the world

The search is set to resume for Emiliano Sala after the target of £260,000 was met on a gofundme page to fund the operation.

Sala disappeared on Monday night, along with pilot Dave Ibbotson, while travelling back from Nantes in western France to Cardiff, where he had just sealed a £15million club-record transfer.

Following an extensive search which saw rescue teams scour the English Channel for three days, Guernsey police search and rescue called off proceedings on Thursday after releasing a statement admitting the likelihood of survival for the pair was all but nonexistent.

The family of Sala immediately pleaded for efforts to continue, along with the player’s former club FC Nantes, who issued a personal request to Guernsey police via social media.

Since then, a gofundme page has been set up to raise funds in order to get air and water crews back out to sea, and figures from the footballing world along with supporters have rallied to the cause.

Now, a privately-funded search looks set to restart after a number of huge donations from football players around the world tipped the gofundme total past £260,000.

On Sunday morning, Kylian Mbappe pledged £26,000 after Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Adrien Rabiot had earlier donated more than £21,000.

Several other footballers, including Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny and Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan also donated large sums to boost the ever-growing total.

The cash appeal was launched by Sport Cover, the name of Emiliano’s agent Meissa N’Diaye’s Paris-based football agency.

Sala’s former manager at Nantes, Vahid Halilhodzic, personally pledged €2,000 (£1,727) while fellow Argentine footballer Lucas Ocampos, of Monaco, made several donations on the page totalling over £6,000.

A further €1,000 donation was made under the name of Kalidou Koulibaly, who plays as a central defender for Italian giants Napoli.

More footballers from the French football league also stepped up to the plate, with Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes putting up €1,000 and PSG youngster Thilo Kehrer adding the same total.

On Saturday, FA Cup fixtures got under way with teams holding a minute of silence for Sala and Ibbotson, before playing with black armbands.

Upon hearing of this, however, the Sala family kindly asked the Football Association if teams could forgo the bands, as their son has not been confirmed dead and lingering hope still remains that he could be found.

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