Premier League side Middlesbrough would have one of their players in reflective mood when they play Southampton.

Brazilian Fabio da Silva had friends that suffered the plane crash in Columbia. The plane was carrying the Chapecoense team that was on its way to the Copa Sudameriana final after a fairy tale season.

“I played with them both in Brazil when we were young. One of my friends was the centre backs Marcelo and the other was the full back Alan Ruschel, who was one of those who survived.

“He was on TV this week talking about it. To see and hear him was so emotional. It’s hard to talk about it. I played with those two guys when we were 13 or 14 at Fluminense,” a visibly shaken Fabio said.

The former Manchester City and Cardiff City player is set to play, even with his mood, for Brough as they face the Saints. He is to appear for injured George Friend.

“At first, I just heard there were problems with the Chapecoense flight. At first you did not think it was that big a deal because there was no mention of anything serious. But then later picked up my phone and there were so many messages. That’s when I realised the terrible news. I just started crying.

“A lot of these guys who died were just like me. You see yourself in them. It could happen to any one of us really,” the player added.

Fabio said the recent success of the club meant the players were set for better contracts but they died in their prime, making it worse for the victims’ families.

His brother, Rafael is set to join him during Christmas, along with their family. The brothers are so identical it is difficult to place them. Fabio chuckled at the thought of letting his brother train in his stead.

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