Chapecoense give crash survivor Alan Ruschel extended deal

SAO PAULO -- Brazil side Chapecoense have extended the contract of defender Alan Ruschel, who has recently returned to action after the air crash that killed 19 of his teammates.

Ruschel's new contract is valid until the end of 2020, club director Rui Costa said on Wednesday.

Costa said "Ruschel is the living proof of Chape's reconstruction. We want him here for many years."

The crash on Nov. 28, 2016, in Colombia killed 71 people. Ruschel, defender Neto, goalkeeper Jackson Follmann and journalist Rafael Henzel survived.

Despite fears of relegation in the Brazilian league, Chapecoense finished eighth to secure a spot in the prestigious Copa Libertadores this term.

Ruschel played four games last year and said he is hoping for more regular playing time this season.