JOSE Antonio Reyes died after losing control of his high-powered Mercedes when a tyre punctured while he was travelling at 147mph, it was reported today.
Spanish sports daily Mundo Deportivo said a preliminary police report pointed to a blowout as the former Arsenal star was going more than 70mph above the speed limit as the probable cause of the accident that killed him and a cousin.
It was also reported he had not driven the vehicle, one of a fleet of high-powered cars he owned, for several months and the tyre pressure was not what it should have been.
The 35-year-old footballer and Jonathan Reyes, 23, died instantly after the Mercedes Brabus S550V went off the A-376 motorway just before midday on Saturday near the town of Alcala de Guadaira close to Seville.
The vehicle is thought to have hit some concrete blocks by the side of the motorway before flipping over and bursting into flames.
Another cousin of dad-of-three Reyes, named as Juan Manuel Calderon, was initially reported to have died although it later emerged he had managed to get out of the charred vehicle and had been rushed to hospital in Seville with serious burns.
Local paper Diario de Sevilla, which said the vehicle had become a ball of fire, earlier reported well-placed sources had said they thought Reyes may have been driving at around 120mph.
The footballer was returning with his two passengers after a training session at Extremadura, the club he was playing for, to his home in his native Utrera near Seville.
His funeral is taking place this morning at Santa Maria Church in Utrera after an overnight wake at the town hall.
Reyes’ eldest son penned an emotional tribute to his dad after his shock car crash death.
Jose Reyes Lopez, the former Arsenal star’s only child with former partner Ana Lopez, posted a picture of his father late on Saturday night with his arm round him alongside a message in Spanish which said: “This is the last moment we spent together dad.
“That day you gave me advice as always, but today you have gone and are not coming back and it is a very difficult day for me.
“I was and always will be very proud of you daddy. We didn’t spend all the time we would have liked to together but only you and I know how much we loved each other.
“I know you will look after me from Heaven and I am never going to forget you. I love you dad.”
The youngster, one of Reyes three children with two different women, added: “Thanks to everyone for the messages of support I’m receiving.”
Well-wishers responded by offering the 11-year-old their condolences.
Retired goalie Santiago Canizares, who played with Reyes fro Spain, criticised Reyes for driving at high speed over the weekend.
He tweeted: “Speeding shows a reprehensible attitude. There were victims in the accident apart from the driver. He does not deserve a tribute as if he were a hero.
“But that does not mean I regret what happened and I pray for their souls.”