August 16, 2021
Ruschel lost 19 of his teammates in a plane crash five years ago. He recovered from his injuries, became the club’s captain and led them to two trophies. Now he is playing against them
Alan Ruschel: ‘I’m a Chapecoense survivor, but also a champion’
By Josué Seixas for Yellow & Green Football
Alan Ruschel fulfilled his dream of becoming a professional footballer twice: when he made his debut for Juventude as a teenager in 2008 and then, nine years later, when he played for Chapecoense against Barcelona in a friendly at Camp Nou. Ruschel walked off the pitch at Camp Nou that night to a standing ovation from the 65,000 fans in attendance. Just nine months earlier, on 28 November of 2016, he had been one of just three Chapecoense players to have survived a plane crash that killed 71 people.
Chape had been travelling to Colombia to play against Atlético Nacional in the Copa Sudamericana final. It was meant to be the biggest game in the club’s history but their happiness turned to anguish. The plane crashed on its way to Medellín and 19 players, 20 journalists, 14 members of the coaching staff, seven crew members, nine club officials and two guests were killed. Only six people survived: three players, one journalist and two crew members. Ruschel was one of them.
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