The 25-year-old was supposed to be on the plane which crashed, leaving 76 dead, including his father, but he was refused permission to board
The crashing of the plane carrying Brazilian side Chapecoense to their Copa Sudamericana final on Monday has left the football world shaken. The death of 76 passengers, including players, staff, journalists and airline staff, has come as an immense shock, with fans and players alike mourning the loss of those who perished.
Chapecoense were travelling to Medellin to face Nacional in the first leg of the final of the Copa Sudamericana, which is the South American equivalent of the Europa League, when their plane came down in Cerro Gordo in the municipality of La Union.
The devastating loss is a thoroughly agonising one, but there was one story of relief to emerge in the aftermath of the crash.
The son of coach Caio Junior has revealed that he was supposed to be on the plane with the squad, but was refused permission to board the flight because he forgot his passport.
While the club's coach unfortunately was one of those who died in the catastrophe, Matheus Saroli was lucky to be spared and told his story on social media, asking for privacy for himself and his family.
"Friends, me, my brother and my mum are okay," the 25-year-old posted on Instagram and Facebook. "We need strength and some privacy, especially my mother.
“But thank you to everyone for all the messages. I was in Sao Paulo today and I did not board because I had forgotten my passport.
“We are strong and we will get through this. Thank you for all of your messages.”
One of the Chapecoense players, striker Alejandro Martinuccio, was also lucky not to be on the flight, having been ruled out through injury, and he told of the “difficult moment” he and those linked to the club are going through after hearing of the death of his team-mates.
Meanwhile, Fox Sports commentator Edmundo revealed that he, too, was supposed to be on the flight for the game, but had to pull out and was replaced by Mario Sergio, who died in the crash.
Nacional have since requested that CONMEBOL award the Copa Sudamericana trophy to the Brazilian side as “a posthumous tribute to the victims of the fatal accident”.