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Swansea celebrate historic promotion with Idrizaj tribute

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Swansea City beat Reading 4-2 in an epic Championship playoff final on Monday to become the first Welsh club to win promotion to the Premier League and the tens of millions of pounds that come with it. Once the final whistle blew, the entire team put on T-shirts with Besian Idrizaj's name and picture on them in tribute to their former teammate who died in his sleep of an apparent heart attack shortly after last season. He was just 22 years old.

Despite the fact that Idrizaj played just three matches for Swansea a whole season ago, it was nice to see that even in a moment of such joy, they still value and promote his memory.

Another part of the tribute was prompted by a Facebook group started by Swans fans. It called for a remembrance of Idrizaj in the 40th minute of the match, since that was his shirt number.

Said Swansea defender Angel Rangel before their playoff semifinal against Nottingham Forest the day after the anniversary of Idrizaj's death (via Wales Online):

"We all know this weekend was the anniversary," said Rangel. "We have spoken a lot about that as a squad and we know getting to Wembley and winning promotion is the best thing we can do for Besian.

"He was very well liked here and if he was still here he would be part of this team and playing with the rest of us.

"Everyone has been affected by it, but it is extra encouragement for us to go on and be successful.

"It has been a difficult time, an emotional time, but this would be our own tribute to Besian."

Between this and Barcelona letting Abidal lift the Champions League trophy the other day, it's almost enough to counterbalance the soul-crushing ugliness of FIFA. Almost.

Photo: Getty

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