French football star and World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe has donated $34,000 to a crowdfunding campaign which is financing a private search mission to find missing soccer player Emiliano Sala.
Sport Cover, the management company which represetns Sala, has set up the campaign, and several players includin Paris Saint-Germain star Adrien Rabiot and Marseille's Dmitri Payet as well as several well-known players from across Europe, have already made sizable donations.
Last week, the UK authorities decided to abandon the search, following which the crowdfunding initiative, which has already collected $400,000, was launched.
Sala had recently signed up for Cardiff City and was flying from Nantes to the Welsh capital after bidding farewell to his former club and teammates. He was snapped up by the Premier League club for $19.3 million.
'The family still have hope'
"The family still have some hope, they're looking at this as a missing person, a missing plane, and until they are satisfied, that's the mode that we're in," David Mearns, a spokesman for the Sala family, told reporters Sunday.
"This is a family that have come from Argentina with this huge shock out of nowhere and (is) struggling with what had happened, with very, very few answers about an unexplained loss," she added.
Cardiff manager Neil Warnock has admitted that Sala's absence has been a huge loss for the club and that the club staff is disturbed by the disappearance.
"It's been a traumatic week and even now I can't get my head around the situation. It's probably hit me harder than anyone else as I've met the lad and talked to him for the last six to eight weeks," Warnock said.
Sala, in his last message, said that the plane was shaking and that it could break into pieces.
"If in an hour and a half you don't have news from me ... I don't know if they would send someone to look for me because they won't find me, but you will know. Dude, I'm so scared," the recorded message said.