Emiliano Sala was planning to learn English, explore the UK and work to meet the high standards of the Premier League before the plane crash which claimed his life, testimony from the player’s heartbroken mother revealed at his inquest on Tuesday.

Mercedes Taffarel’s testimony, read out to the jury in court, revealed that he had been conflicted about whether to leave French side Nantes for Cardiff City, because of the pressure and haggling for cash which preceded the deal. 

‘Cardiff put a lot of pressure on him to complete the sale quickly but Nantes wanted more money and he felt in the middle of that. He had doubts. “Those were difficult weeks,” Ms. Taffarel said.

But having made the decision, ‘Emi’ – as his mother knew him – approached his new career with the optimism he had always shown in his life, she related. 

Emiliano Sala was hoping to meet the high standards of the Premier League before his death ahead of his move to Cardiff, a testimony from his mother revealed today

Emiliano Sala had hoped to achieve the Premier League’s high standards before he died, according to his mother.

Mercedes Taffarel (right, next to Sala in 2019) revealed her son was contemplating the move to Cardiff before making the switch

Mercedes Taffarel, right (next to Sala 2019), revealed that her son had been contemplating moving to Cardiff.

‘He was a young man with his whole life ahead of him, full of dreams for the future,’ Ms Taffarel said. ‘He was eager to learn about football in a league as important as the Premier League. He wanted to learn English and travel to the most important places in the United Kingdom as he loved travelling.’

Ms Taffarel’s words painted an intimate portrait of the way her eldest son had flourished in football despite great challenges in early life. He was born a month premature and after he experienced initial respiratory troubles, she was told by doctors that he might not be able to ‘run or make any physical effort.’

He thrived when his mother took him to San Martin de Progreso, a nearby sports club. He had arrived there with trainers because she couldn’t afford boots for him. 

However, football quickly became a major part of his everyday life. He was adamant that he had no children and in the end he recruited Romina his younger sister to help him with penalties.

Sala was killed in a plane crash taking him from France to the UK to complete his transfer

Sala died in an airplane crash while he was transferring from France to England.

Ms Taffarel’s testimony laid bare the conflicts of a mother not wanting extended of separation from a child, yet feeling she had to let him go.

‘One time he came to me and told me I had to let him go,’ said Ms Taffarel. ‘That if I didn’t, I would be killing him.’ Initially he left for a club 15 hours and 200km away, in Cordoba, then for a team with academy links to Bordeaux.

He eventually made the move to France where he was signed by FC Bordeaux as a 20 year-old. This caused even more separation. Although the family did not have enough money, he was able to come home whenever each season finished. His mother asked for him to cook and watch local league games.

The Cardiff move came at a time when her son seemed to feel ‘calm’ and extremely at home in Nantes, who bought him from Bordeaux in 2015.

Sala's mother revealed that the Cardiff move came at a time when her son (above) was calm

Sala’s mother said that Sala moved to Cardiff at the same time as her son, above.

‘He adopted a dog from a local shelter which provide him with some company as he loved animals.’ Her son loved to read, watch TV series and listen to music, she said. ‘He really stood out for his human warmth. His empathy was infectious. His teammates were very dear to him. He was very happy there.’

After a final trip to Nantes, he crashed his plane. His mother did not fear as he was not in contact with him that Sunday. 

‘I’d spoken to him on the Saturday and he told me he had many issues (to sort out) in Nantes. When we didn’t hear from him, I thought he must have be exhausted when he arrived in Wales and fallen asleep.’

The family’s nightmare began at 6am on the Monday morning, when a phone call from Sala’s agent Meissa Ndiaye to Sala’s younger brother Dario – who was in court to hear the evidence on Tuesday – revealed that the plane had disappeared off the radar. They arrived in England to fight to continue the search for their aircraft. 

Ms Taffarel (middle) revealed she travelled around the Channel Islands to try and find her son

Ms. Taffarel, (middle), said she had traveled all over the Channel Islands trying to locate her son.

Ms Taffarel related the devastating experience of travelling around the Channel Islands, wandering up and down beaches shouting out her son’s name, hoping that he might somehow hear his name.

She said: ‘We argued with the authorities but they didn’t want to keep searching. In very cold weather, we visited the Channel Islands, shouting Emi’s name, hoping to hear from him. The pain was too much. A pain that abides to this day.’

After a crowdfunding campaign, they were able to hire a private firm to search for the wreckage. However the wreckage wasn’t recovered.

The mother of Sala (left with Cardiff CEO Ken Choo) wants justice for her 'peace of mind'

Sala’s mother, left with Cardiff CEO Ken Choo, wants justice for her “peace of heart”.

After initial post mortem investigations found carbon monoxide in her son’s blood, she pleaded for the plane wreckage to be recovered. The family decided to hire a private company to help them. However, by the time they had finished the investigation the wreckage was gone.

Ms Taffarel said: ‘As a family, we were very upset by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch’s decision not to recover the wreckage. Emi cannot be brought back. We now demand justice to ensure Emi’s peace of mind.

It continues.