Chapecoense Plane Crash Survivor Gets Heartwarming Ovation from Barca Fans in First Game Back (Video)

Chapecoense Plane Crash Survivor Gets Standing O from Barca Fans in First Game Back

Last week 27-year-old defender Alan Ruschel was named captain of Brazilian soccer club Chapecoense.

Normally that would not be news. However, Ruschel is not just any soccer player. He is one of just three players to survive the tragic plane crash last November that killed 19 other Chapecoense players and 71 people in total. Ruschel spent the last eight months rehabbing after major back surgery, and he’s the only player on the current Chapecoense roster who was on the plane  that went down in the hills outside Medellín, Colombia.

The club returned to action in January with a roster made up almost entirely of players loaned by other teams in Brazil’s top flight division. However, Ruschel made his triumphant return on Monday, during an exhibition game against Spanish giants FC Barcelona at Camp Nou.

The Chapecoense captain played just 36 minutes before being subbed off toward the end of the first half. However, he was given a rousing ovation from both players and fans as he exited the field.


After the match, Ruschel exchanged jerseys and shared a touching embrace with Argentine legend Lionel Messi.

Messi later wrote a personal message on Ruschel’s jersey and returned it to him personally.

Ruschel was so moved by the entire experience that he poured his heart out in a touching post-match Instagram post.

“True happiness comes from humility and from the recognition that we are only very little or almost nothing, and life is only complete with the real feeling of love for our neighbour,” Ruschel wrote. “I am grateful with all my heart for so many blessings, so many successive miracles in my life. The winner said: ‘Let’s live our dreams, we have so little time.'”

Hats off to Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona, and all their fans for giving Alan Ruschel such a warm welcome.

Hat Tip – [FTW, ESPN FC]

Tags: Chapecoense, FC Barcelona, Feel-Good Story, heartwarming, Plane Crash, Soccer,