San Javier born Marta Penalver is amongst the Italian Serie A Citta di Falconara squad who have been praised by the club despite losing out in the race for the 2020-21 Championship title.
In a statement to club supporters it said: “You sang, rejoiced, screamed, and cried with us. And for us this goes far beyond every word and every concept of supporters.
“We did not win the championship, but we found an indescribable affection and warmth, well beyond the confines of the small Via Stadio. And this is worth more than any victory on the pitch.
“That ‘Falconara alé’ still echoes at Pala Badiali and we get goosebumps. We started from nothing, and it is perhaps from nothing that the most beautiful things are born.
“The newspapers and televisions say that we have done something extraordinary, that we have written history, but as you well know we are stubborn – we wanted to become a legend, for us and for you, who have never left us alone.
“We always say that Falconara dies every night and rises again every morning. Why? Because she is driven by her people, her people who saved her and who will save her.
“From tomorrow we will start again, stronger than before, and we do not speak in terms of staff who are exceptional and irreplaceable, but we will start again stronger, because we are an increasingly united family.”
San Javier football star Marta pays tribute to grandfather
Meanwhile, away from the pitch, Marta payed tribute to her grandfather.
“Playing in the Championship Final in Italy with Citta di Falconara, amid his passing has not been easy as I could not say goodbye to him, that still hurts me,” said San Javier born Marta.”
“I hope that one day my grandfather can be half as proud, as I am of him,” said Marta.
“He has been the purest example of simplicity and goodness that this world needs,” she said.
“I know that he will follow me wherever he is, and I will think of him constantly in every moment that I live,” added Marta.
A statement from Citta de Falconara said: “It was not easy for Marta to show up the professionalism and determination that she did after such a loss.
“We knew what her grandfather meant and we are infinitely saddened by her loss.”