By far the most tragic event to take place during the month of January was the news that Emiliano Sala had passed away as a result of a plane crash on his way to Cardiff. The Argentinian striker had just signed for Cardiff from French side Nantes and was unveiled at the Cardiff Stadium with a Cardiff City shirt, but Sala returned to Nantes to say goodbye to his teammates and collect some personal belongings. On the 21st of January, the plane that was flying Sala to Cardiff disappeared, with it being announced 2 days later by Channel Islands Air Search that there was “no hope” of finding any survivors. Argentinian media outlet Olé reported released a message from Sala while on the plane, with the message being:
“Hello, my brothers, how are you? Boy, I’m tired. I was here in Nantes taking care of things, things, things, things, things, things, and it never stops, it never stops, it never stops. Anyway guys, I’m up in this plane that feels like it's falling to pieces, and I’m going to Cardiff. [It's] crazy, we start tomorrow. Training in the afternoon, guys, in my new team... Let's see what happens. So, how's it going with you guys, all good? If in an hour and a half you have no news from me, I don't know if they are going to send someone to look for me because they cannot find me, but you will know... Man, I'm scared!”
One the 24th of January, police announced that they had called off the search for the aircraft or any survivors. However, after worldwide support and calls for the search to continue, with the likes of Diego Maradona, Sergio Aguero, Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Argentina President Mauricio Macri and 65,000 online signatures calling for the search to continue. A GoFundMe page raised over £280,000 for a private search which commenced on the 26th of January. The following month Dorset Police identified the body of Sala.