The world of football has united in grief after former Spain and Barcelona manager Luis Enrique announced his nine-year-old daughter Xana had died from bone cancer.
Tributes poured in from clubs around the world and players past and present after Enrique revealed the sad news on Thursday.
Barcelona star Lionel Messi led the tributes, saying: ‘We are with you, all the strength of the world.’
Luis Enrique announced the death of daughter Xana, pictured together after Barcelona won the Champions League in 2015, at the age of nine
Xana had fought osteosarcoma – or bone cancer – for ‘five intense months’, the Spaniard revealed
Enrique with son Pacho, 19, wife Elena Cullell, daughter Sira, 18, and Xana on a family holiday in 2015
Barcelona star Lionel Messi paid tribute on Instagram, writing: ‘We are with you, all the strength of the world.’
Club legend Rivaldo posted a picture of Enrique and Xana on Instagram, writing: ‘My sincere feelings to my friend Luis Enrique for the loss of his daughter Xana.
‘May God be comforting the heart of the family. A lot of strength in this difficult time.’
The Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu tweeted: All of our support and compassion goes to @luisenrique21, his wife and all of his family at this particularly painful time.
‘All the Barca family are touched by the loss of Xana. Our condolences and all our sympathy for the Martínez Cullell family.’
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu left this tribute to Enrique in his Twitter account
The Barcelona and Brazil legend Rivaldo posted this image of father and daughter
The Real Madrid squad held a minute’s silence before their training session on Friday
Luis Suarez, who played under him at Barcelona, wrote: ‘Moment of much pain and sadness. Rest in peace XANITA. A lot of strength Luis Enrique, Elena and family!’
Spain and Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea said he was left ‘speechless’ by the youngster’s death.
Real Madrid and Spain defender Sergio Ramos said: ‘Mister, all our support and love for you and your family. There are no words, but you always have us by your side.’
Liverpool goalkeeper Adrian posted: ‘Horrible news that make us rethink our lives and what is really important about it. My deepest condolences Luis Enrique And all your family. FORCES!! DEP Xana.’
Real Madrid and Spain defender Sergio Ramos passed on his best wishes via Twitter
Manchester United and Spain goalkeeper David de Gea paid tribute to Xana on Twitter
The Liverpool goalkeeper Adrian said the news put everything into perspective
Javier Mascherano tweeted: ‘Speechless. Rest in Peace Xana. We will always remember you with a lot of love. Luis and Elena hug them with our hearts.’
Luis Garcia wrote: ‘Little can be said right now because nothing comforts such a loss. My sincerest condolences, Luis, to you and your whole family. Rest in peace Xana.’
Manchester United defender Chris Smalling wrote on Twitter:’ Can’t even begin to understand how you and your family are feeling, this is heartbreaking. My thoughts are with you all.’
Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric said: ‘Very sad for this terrible news. All my love for Luis Enrique and his family.’
Spanish tennis champion Rafael Nadal said he ‘cannot imagine the pain of the family’.
Tennis star Rafael Nadal said he ‘could not imagine the pain of the family’ in his tweet
Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric posted this tribute on Twitter on Thursday night
Manchester United defender Chris Smalling described the news as ‘heartbreaking’
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez was among those to pay tribute to Xana, writing on Twitter: ‘There are no words that that can go along with this pain.
‘My heartfelt wishes to Luis Enrique and all his family, after the loss of his little Xana.’
The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) said it ‘mourns the sad loss of little Xana’ and it ‘wants to show our condolences to family and friends, joining us all today in their pain.’
Enrique had stepped down as coach of the Spanish national team in June after less than a year in charge to take care of his daughter.
Barcelona, who Enrique played 301 times for before managing them to two league titles and the Champions League in 2015, said: ‘Our condolences and all our sympathy for Luis Enrique and his family at this very difficult time. RIP Xana.’
Enrique’s family received an outpouring of sympathy from the footballing world as the tragic news broke
Barcelona’s rivals Real Madrid said they ‘join the pain’ of Enrique and his family and ‘want to convey their deepest condolences to them at these difficult times.’
The squad held a minute’s silence ahead of their training session on Friday as a mark of respect.
Italian club Roma, another managed by Enrique, said they were ‘heartbroken to hear the news’.
They added: ‘The thoughts of everyone at AS Roma are with Luis Enrique and his family at this impossibly sad and difficult time.’
Enrique, 49, paid tribute to Xana in a heartbreaking post on Thursday afternoon, describing her as ‘the star that guides our family’.
Xana had fought osteosarcoma – or bone cancer – for ‘five intense months’, the Spaniard revealed on Twitter.
Xana was the youngest of three children born to Enrique and wife Elena Cullell. The couple also have a 19-year-old son named Pacho and an 18-year-old daughter, Sira.
Daddy’s girl: Enrique revealed his family’s heartache but thanked those who sent well wishes
Enrique, 49, paid tribute to Xana on his Twitter, describing her as ‘the star that guides our family’. Here, they beam with joy as they play together after the 2015 Champions League final
Enrique, who also coached the Spanish national team, thanked those who had sent well wishes over recent months and medical staff for their ‘dedication’.
In a statement from his official account, he wrote: ‘Our daughter Xana has passed away this afternoon at the age of 9, after fighting for 5 intense months against osteosarcoma.
‘We thank you for all the love received during these months and we appreciate the discretion and understanding.
‘Also, we thank the staff of the Sant Joan de Deu and Sant Pau hospitals for their dedication and treatment, to the medical nurses and all the volunteers.
‘With a special mention to the team of palliative priests of Sant Joan de Deu. We will miss you very much but we will remember you every day of our lives in the hope that in the future we will meet again.
‘You will be the star that guides our family. Rest Xanita. Martinez Cullell family.’
WHAT IS OSTEOSARCOMA?
Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer, usually diagnosed in teenagers and young adults.
It occurs when the cells that grow new bone form a cancerous tumor.
The cause of the cancer is unknown but it is thought to be related to rapid bone growth, such as adolescence.
Most tumors usually develop around the knee, either in the lower part of the thighbone or the upper part of the shinbone.
If the cancer has not spread, the long-term survival rate is between 70 and 75 percent.
If osteosarcoma has already spread, such as to the lungs or other bones at diagnosis, the long-term survival rate is about 30 percent.
- Bone pain (in motion, at rest, or when lifting objects)
- Bone fractures
- Limitation of motion of joints
There are a few treatment options for osteosarcoma.
Often administered before surgery, chemotherapy uses drugs that help shrink and kill cancerous cells. The length of treatment varies and may depend on whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
In most cases, surgeons can save the cancerous limb. The tumor and surrounding bone are removed and the missing bone is replaced with an artificial one.
A rotationplasty is a procedure in which the bottom of the femur, the knee, and the upper tibia are surgically removed. The lower leg is then rotated 180 degrees and attached to the femur.
Sources: Macmillan and Healthline