Cologne: Sevilla captain Jesus Navas dedicated his club’s sixth Europa League title triumph to former players Jose Antonio Reyes, killed in a car crash last year, and Antonio Puerta, who died from a heart attack in 2007.
The Spanish side defeated Inter Milan 3-2 in a thrilling final on Friday.
Attacker Navas, however, was quick to hail Reyes and Puerta.
Reyes, who played in three Sevilla teams which won the Europa League, was killed in June last year.
Puerta died at the age of 22 after suffering a heart attack in a Liga game in August 2007.
“To be able to raise this cup as captain of my Sevilla means so much to me, for all the people, for friends who are no longer here – for Puerta, for Reyes,” Navas said.
“And for my godfather who has died. I hope Sevilla fans are proud of us. We all lift the trophy because we are all captains.”
Navas also hailed coach Julen Lopetegui, two years after the embarrassment of being sacked as coach of Spain on the eve of the 2018 World Cup.
He then lasted just 14 games as Real Madrid boss.
“Lopetegui works 24 hours a day for Sevilla, he deserves this,” Navas said.
Diego Carlos, whose overhead kick deflected in off Romelu Lukaku 16 minutes from time to give Sevilla victory, says he had double reason to celebrate.
“This title was very important for all of us. I thank the club for all they have done for me. I’ve scored a goal, won a trophy and my wife is pregnant,” said the 27-year-old Brazilian.