Former Barcelona winger and Argentina Under-20 international Maxi Rolon has died in a car accident which also claimed the life of his footballing twin brother Ariel.
Both men were killed instantly after they lost control of the Fiat Punto they were traveling in around a bend and crashed into a tree. The accident happened around 8 a.m. local time on Saturday on the main road between the towns of Pujato and Casilda in Argentina’s Santa Fe province.
FC Barcelona said in a tweet on news of the tragedy involving their 28-year-old ex-player: “We are appalled by the death of Maxi Rolon, a young footballer with Barcelona from 2010 to 2016. We express our sincerest condolences and send full support to his family. Rest in peace.”
The Argentine Football Association said: “We deeply regret the loss of young footballer Maximiliano Rolon, who played for national youth teams and was South American Under-20 champion in 2015.”
Pelé’s longtime club Santos, where Rolon spent a year, also expressed their dismay in a tweet, saying, “Our condolences to all his family and friends. Rest in peace Max.”
The two men were playing football for teams in the town of Chabas, near the scene of the accident. They were on their way to pick up a relative in Rosario, the town where former Barcelona star Lionel Messi was born and raised when their car went off the road. No other vehicles were involved, but a routine investigation into the crash is ongoing.
Rolon, born in Rosario, began his youth career with local club Atletico Lujan before joining Barcelona’s youth roster in 2007. He moved to La Masia, the Catalan giant’s famed youth academy which has produced players world class including Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta, three years later.
He made his professional debut in October 2014 and scored his first senior goal for Barcelona reserves in September the following year. Rolon left Barcelona for Brazilian side Santos in February 2016 and returned to Spain early the following year for a short-lived spell with second division side CD Lugo.
As well as representing Argentina at the South American Youth Championship in Uruguay in 2015 with another brother Leonardo, Maxi was also included in the squad for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand. .