Part one of the 2009-2010 La Liga season preview will be out in the next couple of days, but today is devoted to Daniel Jarque González, who tragically passed away at the age of twenty-six while his RCD Espanyol team and he were on their preseason tour of Italy. According to the RCD Espanyol website, “Tragedy struck Espanyol and the family of Dani Jarque this evening. The blanquiblau player died of cardiac arrest.”
“The doctor carried out CPR on the player and used a defibrillator which showed that the arrest was non-responsive. The medical services continued carrying out CPR, administering adrenaline and atropine for an hour, but the player’s heart did not react, so finally that determined his death.”
“RCD Espanyol, broken with pain, wish to put themselves at the absolute disposition of the family of our captain Dani Jarque, to whom go our warmest thoughts.”
When any death like this occurs, rivalries are set aside, and everyone grieves for the deceased and his family. From San Francisco, where FC Barcelona is on their American preseason tour, Joan Laporta said on the Barcelona club website, “We are filled with extreme dismay at this tragic event which we deeply regret.”
“Today we are all in mourning. I want to send, on behalf of FC Barcelona, our deepest sympathies to RCD Espanyol for the painful loss of their captain Dani Jarque, and to his family.”
A rock in central defense with Nicolás Pareja, they led Espanyol from the bottom of the table as late as Round 30 and from relegation as late as Round 32 to tenth place, an astonishing turnaround to a top half finish. A proud player of the Espanyol cantera since the age of twelve, Daniel Jarque reached the highest peak individually when his native Espanyol asked him to be captain one short month ago. He then captained the first match in their newly built stadium, the Estadi Cornellà-El Prat, where they impressed the home supporters with a 3-0 thrashing of Liverpool FC.
This kind of catastrophic event reminds people of their own mortality and how life can be taken away in an instant, even if you are only twenty-six years old, in top physical shape, and seemingly at a good place in your life. No one truly knows why these events occur, and surely, Jarque’s teammates are asking the same questions. If anyone knows through what they are going, it is the players of Sevilla in the 2007-2008 campaign because their teammate Antonio Puerta died shortly after he played in the first match of that season. Sevilla finished fifth that season, narrowly missing a Champions League spot because while they had the same total of points as Atlético Madrid, Atlético Madrid had the better head-to-head record against Sevilla.
While it is a noble idea to suggest that Dani Jarque’s death will spur on Los Perequitos to play their best football ever, the truth is that each player will take his death in his own private way. If they can envelop the spirit of Dani Jarque and, as the untimely, yet apt and appropriate cliché goes, play as if their lives depended on it, they will honor their fallen friend in the most respectable way possible.
Rest in peace, Dani. The football world will sorely miss you.