Ex-Rayo Vallecano, Nigeria keeper Wilfred Agbonavbare dies of cancer

Former Rayo Vallecano and Nigeria goalkeeper Wilfred Agbonavbare has died of cancer aged just 48.

Wilfred played at Rayo from 1990 to 1996 and was also a member of the Nigeria squad which won the 1994 African Cup of Nations and reached the second round while playing their first World Cup that year in the USA. More recently he had worked as a goalkeeping coach, in business and as a porter at Madrid's Barajas airport.

News of his death at a hospital near Madrid was communicated by the La Liga club in an official statement on Tuesday morning.

"Rayo Vallecano informs that our former player Wilfred Agbonavbare has died in the early hours of this morning, at the Hospital Principe de Asturias in Alcala de Henares," the statement said. "The club will communicate, as soon as possible, and with the permission of his family, the place where a last goodbye can be given. #DescansaWilly."

"Willy" remains the goalkeeper to have made most Primera Division appearances for Rayo (76), and his close relationship with the club was brought home by players from the suburban club and neighbours Atletico Madrid holding up a banner of support before last Saturday's La Liga meeting.

Many in Spain's football community shared their condolences with Wilfred's three sons and friends on hearing Tuesday morning's news, with Spain's official players union among those who tweeted an RIP message.