Getty Images | Fred Tanneau, Facebook

Soccer Pro's Dog Keeps Faithful Vigil Days After Tragic Plane Crash

You never expect TV shows to actually play out in real life, but when they do, you hope it's a fun episode and not something sad. Unfortunately, we had to see one of the saddest episodes of Futurama — or any show I know of, really — recently.

If you haven't seen it, the episode involves a faithful dog waiting expectantly for his owner to return, not realizing that it's never going to happen. And if that doesn't break your heart, seeing it play out in real life sure will.

On January 21, Cardiff City F.C. star Emiliano Sala was flying from Nantes, France to Cardiff, Wales.

Getty Images | Loic Venance

As the 28-year-old Argentine's plane flew over the English Channel, it disappeared from radar. Nobody knew exactly what happened, but the plane never reached its destination.

For weeks, the mystery gripped the soccer world.

Getty Images | Matthew Horwood

Fans and players alike made tributes and attended vigils for the missing star. A search ensued, but after a few days with no sign of Emiliano, it was abandoned.

At the time, police said "the chances of survival at this stage are extremely remote," according to CNN, and poor weather conditions showed no signs of improving in the near future.

Emiliano's family, however, wasn't ready to give up hope.

Getty Images | Loic Venance

Championed by Emiliano's sister Romina as well as his agent, the family crowdfunded a private search effort.

Their GoFundMe campaign quickly raised 300,000 euros ($339,000 U.S.) thanks to donations from soccer players and fans working together, and the search resumed.

Also keeping the faith was Emiliano's dog, Nala.

Facebook | Romina Sala

Almost two weeks after Emiliano's flight disappeared, Romina posted this pic of Nala still waiting by the front door for her best friend to come home on Facebook. "Nala is waiting for you too," she wrote.

Emiliano and Nala clearly had some good times together, judging by Emiliano's Instagram.

Instagram | @emilianosala9

Nala featured in more than a few of his posts. The Evening Standard reported that Emiliano put Nala up in a kennel in Nantes while he was in the process of moving to Cardiff.

Sadly, it has been confirmed that Emiliano won't be coming home to Nala.

Getty Images | Fred Tanneau

The renewed search effort successfully located Emiliano's plane at the bottom of the English Channel, recovered a body, and identified it as Emiliano, the BBC reports.

The pilot, David Ibbotson, has yet to be found.

It's still unclear why the plane went down.

Getty Images | Jean-Sebastien Evrard

However, video footage of the submerged plane collected by the search team might be able to shed some light on that after it's examined.

Due to conditions at the crash locations, the searchers hold little hope of recovering Ibbotson's body, however.

Emiliano was due to start a new stage of his career in Cardiff.

Getty Images | Loic Venance

He had just been acquired from Nantes for £15 million, the biggest signing in the club's history, but didn't get to play a game for them.

According to The Guardian, he was only in Nantes to collect his belongings and say goodbye to his former teammates.

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