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PSG's Neymar: 'Every Brazilian carries Chapecoense in his heart'

On August 7th, Chapecoense's Alan Ruschel played in his first game since the tragic plane crash in November 2016.

Neymar has paid tribute to the victims of the Chapecoense disaster on the anniversary of the plane accident that killed most of the team by saying every Brazilian carries them "in his heart."

On Nov. 28, 2016, Chapecoense were travelling to play in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional when the jet carrying players, club officials and journalists went down near the Colombian city of Medellin. Only six people survived while 71 perished.

Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar sent a video to Cadena Ser, which produced a special programme on Chapecoense, in which he said: "I'm very happy to take part in this show dedicated to Brazilians and especially to honour the memory of Chapecoense.

"Every Brazilian carries Chapecoense in his heart. I send hugs to the friends and family members [of the victims], we know what happened."

Chapecoense, who lost 19 players in the crash, put together a team that won the Campeonato Catarinense and also managed to retain their Campeonato Brasileiro top-flight status. With one game remaining, the club are still in the race to qualify for the Copa Libertadores.

Chapecoense have also gone on a club record nine-game unbeaten run in the Campeonato Brasileiro, with the latest result a 1-0 win at Bahia on Sunday.

- Borden: Chapocoense's unthinkable fate 

Before the game, Bahia fans paid tribute to Chapecoense with a banner that read: "We are all Chapecoense, rest in peace."

Tulio de Melo, who returned to Chapecoense in January having had a brief spell at the club in 2015, has scored six goals in 23 league appearances.

"We are very happy to have honoured the memory of our friends," the forward told Cadena Ser. "When we started [the season], we only had two players and we had to build a new team altogether. What we wanted was to defend our [top-flight] status and we did so with three games to spare.

"The club has done something historic this season after the tragedy. It's very hard for the families to remember this date but the club is helping them in all it can. We are never going to forget our friends and what they did."

Chapecoense have a page on their website where families, friends and fans can pay tribute and remember those who died.

The three players that survived the crash were Alan Ruschel, Neto and Jackson Follmann. Goalkeeper Follmann, who had his leg amputated, returned to training earlier this month wearing a prosthetic leg.

The Chapeco-based club recently announced they have been nominated for the Laureus Sports World Awards in the category of "best sporting moment of the year," for when defender Ruschel returned to play in a friendly at Barcelona in July 239 days after the tragic accident, with Neto and Follmann on the bench.

Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.

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