Teammates of former Newcastle Jets midfielder Bernardo Ribeiro have paid tribute to the Brazilian after the 26-year-old tragically passed away over the weekend.
Ribeiro – who also enjoyed spells in Albania, Italy and Finland – suffered a heart attack playing in an amateur match in Brazil when he collapsed.
It’s very sad and I was just so shocked. At such an early age too…it’s just very tragic circumstances,” Jets midfielder Ben Kantarovsi said on Monday.
“He was a quality player and off the field he was a top bloke too.
“He came to Australia and he met his fiancé here, so he always had special ties with Australia and used to come back here when he could. He was such a nice guy which is why I think everyone so shocked and taken it so hard.”
Ribeiro made just six appearances for the Jets before departing for Finland and then returning to his native Brazil.
“He was a great player, a typical Brazilian in that he likes to express himself and played with so much flair…and he showed that during his time here,” Kantarovski said.
“It didn’t quite work out here but that was due more to things that were out of his control but as a player and a person he was brilliant. We saw it on the training pitch every day…it’s just so sad.”
Jets goalkeeper Mark Birighitti – who played with Ribeiro during the 2012-13 Hyundai A-League campaign – expressed his shock at the news on social media.
Former Newcastle Jets Michael Bridges, Taylor Regan and Zenon Caravella also took to social media to pay homage to the Brazilian.
The midfielder, who represented Friburgense in this year’s Rio State Championship, was rushed to hospital on the weekend but medics failed to revive him and he was pronounced dead on arrival.
“The Nova Friburgo sporting community is in mourning,” his club said in a press statement.
“Friburgense Athletic Club says farewell to a great athlete and human being, loved by every single player, member of the technical staff, director and club official. Our deepest sympathies to the Frizao family and all the family of Bernardo Ribeiro.”